Thursday, December 30, 2010

An invitation

check out the new pictures in the slideshow, took me all morning to upload them...and that only took us to mid-December....whew! More to come...happy new year friends and family! Hope your Christmas was merry.
video
Taking a break from their snow chopping to enjoy some cocoa.
And back to work.  
Stumpy (who's not so stumpy anymore) says it's been a good year.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

We're suckers for British humour!


Z's favorites are the nighttime/daytime bird and the chipmunk, mine are Sid and the owls. I think Ben liked the monkeys best. Happy Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Family times

I find myself ahead of the game a bit this year, things for Christmas are mostly done, only fun things left to do this week with the kids.  Last week Ben and I embarked upon a media free time with the kids, I felt they were spending too much time either watching TV or playing on the computer.  It took lots of extra energy to get organized enough to have a bit more of a schedule for them, that involved one of us reading to them or playing with them, but they're always happy to help in the kitchen.  Z can crack an egg with one hand already (I think I was in my twenties!),  Juju can crack eggs too and knows to pick out any shell that drops in the bowl.  Z is obsessed with cooking his own soup and making his own spices.  He carries it around and has us try it on everything.  "Buddy's Super Spice" is not that bad on potatoes, actually.

We've been very domestic lately, making yogurt and cheese about a week ago.  My mom was here to help still, and I may wait till she comes back for a visit to try the cheese again.  It took us an hour and a half to make 30 minute mozzarella.  I cheated this year, and though we did make some cut-out cookies for the Mommy Group a couple weeks ago, we didn't make any other fancy Christmas cookies.  But we did happen upon a new easy creation that hardly counts as work. I call them pretzel mints.  Here's the recipe for them.  Takes five minutes in the oven, half hour from start to finish if I'm mass producing them.  We actually bought Christmas colored Cadbury's chocolate candies to put on top instead of m&m's and they look even cuter, like little winter hats with a bobble on top!  Yum.  We packaged them up for neighbors, to be delivered tomorrow night.

I had started buying presents at the beginning of November, well, I suppose some I bought at the Farmer's Market over the Summer, but not many.  We made a New Year's resolution this year to buy locally or fair trade whenever possible and I feel we did pretty well this year, but especially in our Christmas buying.  I can count on one hand the presents that were mass production and imported.  I stayed in contact with artisans whose displays I liked from local festivals or the farmer's market, called them up in November and ordered Christmas presents, shopped at local artists' shops or made the gift myself (only four people this year!).  I learned from last year, making too many gifts stresses me out.  We bought the bulk of our gifts at the World Craft Store in Kidron, though it's not local it is fair trade and supporting a good cause.

We have a tradition of only getting each other one gift at Christmas to symbolize God's gift to us: Jesus.  I can tell you what the kids are getting as they're too little to read this!  Z has consistently asked for a "Whack-a-mole" game since he saw one at the store a while back, so that's what he got.  I wanted to do something sentimental for Juju as at 2 years old they don't remember much.  Make no sense?   Well, if I make her a gift, and we save it, she'll know later what she got and that it was special.  So, I made her a big chunky necklace with a magnetic clasp and am putting it in an ice cream cone purse that was knitted by a lady down the road.  I can't wait.  Speaking of which, I really need to go finish making that necklace.

May you all have a stress-free week, enjoying each other, enjoying food, caring for others less fortunate, living life to the fullest!!    

Friday, December 10, 2010

The First Noel by Marcella

She never played piano before she came to our house four months ago!

Our Marcella

Dear Marcella, 
Hello dear!  I wonder when you'll finally read this!  I may have to drop a hint, we'll see... I wanted to post all about you and share with the world all the things you've taught the Wigtons about Indonesia, life and God since you joined us through the IVEP program and I figured I'd just make it a letter to you.  

Ben and I really didn't know anything at all about Indonesia before you arrived.  We read a little pamphlet that told us some things I didn't understand at the time, like how your culture is more indirect rather than direct and will more readily tell others how they feel about you rather than tell you to your face and that I may have to ask you three times before trusting that a "no" answer really means no, when offering you food or other things to be nice.  

We also learned that Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world (by population) and that there are six major religions that it hosts, with Muslim being the greatest by 85%, then Christianity by 12%.  Also though we knew Indonesia had several islands, we had no idea that there were 17,508 of them!  Nor that they stretched across almost 5 billion square miles (only 1 billion square miles smaller than the US in total land mass).  I'm in awe that there are 2-3 hundred ethnic groups in Indonesia and each one has it's own language, traditional clothing and practices.  I love all the Indonesian traditional clothes that I've seen:
Now that you've been with us for four months we've learned so much about your culture and you, though we have lots to learn still.  We really mean it when we tell you that you are a gifted musician, the fact that you can play piano and guitar so well by ear and not had lessons means you have a gift.  We're so impressed by you!  We had a funny moment when you first got here and I gave you the job of shredding the carrot skins off with something like this: 
You said to me, "What do I do with this?"  It dawned on me at that moment that we might as well be from different planets.  Wow.  Of course, it turned out that what you use in Indonesia isn't all that different, and we happened to have one on hand, thanks to a recent gift from my Grandma: 
Now you like the American kind of peeler and I like the kind you were used to.  So funny.  It still blows me away to know that in Indonesia most people wash their laundry by hand and only keep 3-4 changes of clothes.  I've learned from you that since you're closer to the equator you have the same hours of light and darkness every day, all year around: 6-6.  How strange to us it would be to have darkness in the evening all year around.  Since it's about 83 degrees Fahrenheit all year you have little need for running hot water and so don't mind not having such in your house, though it would not be fun here in Ohio!  We do need more changes of clothes here with all the changes in weather, but probably not as many as most of us Americans keep, but you're finding this out.  

I love that your culture is a blend of Chinese, Dutch and Portugese cultures.  Your language reflects it, I find it fascinating.  
Here's my list that is hanging in the kitchen, so I never lose it: 
How do you say ___?  = Bagaimana kamu mengatakan __?
Excuse me. =  Permisi
Where is ________? = Di mana _______?
Good morning! = Selamat Pagi! 
How are you? = Apakabar?
Please eat! = Silahkan Makan (my favorite)
Thank you = Terima Kasih
You're welcome = Sama Sama
We love you = Kami cinta kau.

I especially like how in Indonesian language when you make something plural you say it twice (unless it's an English word you use there) and I won't ever forget that "tooth" is "gigi" and that "teeth" is "gigi gigi".   I still don't completely understand why your middle name, which we thought was your last name, sounds so Italian, or all the rules for men and women regarding taking on different family names, like you and your brother do.  But, I suppose we still have time to learn.  Thankfully, we get to keep you all the way through July 2011.  
You are such a hard worker, I wonder if you worked this hard in Indonesia.  You work nearly a full time job at our church doing secretarial and pastoral work and still work twenty hours a week at the coffee shop ministry too.  I love that you have found some foods that you love to eat here like quesadillas, chili and hash browns.  You're so nice, I don't know if you genuinely like all the foods I make you or if you'd just never tell me.  It's ok, in our culture, to say you don't like something.  Maybe it is in yours too, but you've been sweet as sugar and I wouldn't know if it was.  We have really loved all the foods you've made us, the Singaporean coconut chicken rice, the fried rice, the beef with red chilis, and my favorite, the chicken and rice porridge.  I hope we can find more of the sweet soy sauce some day, it's dreamy over that porridge!  Thanks for bringing some for us to try!  



Maybe someday we can translate your books, "Radical for Jesus," and "Matters of the heart" into English together.  Seems like a fun family project, does it not?  

We're making lots of fun memories together, day by day.  We're so very thankful to have you as part of our WigLives for one whole year.  Thank you for all you've taught us and will teach us.  You're a wonderful addition to our family.  Kami cinta kau!  

-Your Ohio Family

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Friday all year round

Our church just asked us all to write a devotional message for printing in a little Christmas advent devotional guide.  Here's what I came up with:



At Christmas we celebrate the Savior’s birth, at Easter, His resurrection.  In between them, though, is an important day we overlook as Christians.  Good Friday is the day our Lord was brutally murdered.  I feel that we push this day to the side because it reminds us of our need for someone to die for us.  We just don’t want to be reminded of our own personal giant bailout, let alone tell others about it.  Worse yet, our avoidance of Good Friday and the crucifixion, I believe, is symbolic of how we tend to live our lives in American culture.  We are entitled to a “good life” here in America and feel spurned by God if we don’t get our due.  We spend most of our energies, monies, and conversations trying to feel as good as or better than others.   We constantly give ourselves grace instead of holding ourselves to a higher standard, when the Bible clearly says, “Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy” (Romans 6:19b). New life in Christ insists on a radical new way of living: Forgiving others, loving our enemies, building others up instead of ourselves and self-discipline in a country that gives us every freedom in the world.  Death is not a subject we like or are comfortable with, but is one that Christians, of all people, should know well.   In this world that does everything opposite of how God intended, it only makes sense that our lives in Him, would begin with death.   Neglecting the price paid for this precious gift of salvation demeans it, doesn’t make it attractive to others or help them know how they can have it too.   

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. 
Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 
Don’t look out only for your own interests, 
      but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

 Though he was God,
      he did not think of equality with God
      as something to cling to.
 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
      he took the humble position of a slave
      and was born as a human being.
   When he appeared in human form,
      he humbled himself in obedience to God
      and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
      and gave him the name above all other names,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:3-11


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our Farm Girl


This was taken in September, she already looks so much older than this!  They're growing like weeds!!
video

Friday, November 5, 2010

E-Card for my Grandma in Iowa

This is my Grandma.
We have the same middle name. (Irene).
She graduated Valedictorian of her high school class.
With her sweetheart on their wedding day.
Here she is with my mom, pregnant with my uncle Danny
I love this picture of her with her foot up on her leg. 
This says January 1973 along the side, so my mom is 15 here. :-)
Grandma raised five children, then four more who are her grandchildren, now she cares for her mother. She  can best be described as nurturing.  She's very good at what she does, and boy does she know babies...

My Grandma used to collect owls, now she collects roosters.  I respect her a lot for changing her mind.  Sometimes you just want something different.  My Grandma likes to laugh a lot and my Grandpa likes to make her laugh.  She's a pro at entertaining, and can whip up a giant spread of food in no time.  I didn't know it, but it turns out she's the world's best cookie maker.  If you've been wondering who that is, you've found her!  {By the way, Grandma, I tried to make the chocolate chip oatmeal cookies like you said, and they did not turn out anywhere near as good as yours.}  Sometimes people just know what they're doing.  

She loves cards.  Specifically, she loves to pick out the perfect card just for the perfect occasion for someone. She sends between 10 and 15 cards a month out.  She always writes a letter to go inside or at least a nice note at the bottom of the card.  I have several cards from her hanging on a string above my window right now.  Yes, I did send her a real card. 

Like her hubby, she devours the Word of God.  She likes to wake up, drink a big glass of ice water and read her Bible.  Then you'll catch her reading it again a couple more times in the day.  Below are some memory verses she has above her sink.  She devoutly attends church and shares God's Love with others in everything she does.  
Happy Birthday, Grandma!!  We love you, love you, love you.
Hope your day is as delightful as you are!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

kids make traveling hard...or do they?

Mi amiga, Clara.  She brought us what I call "Dead Bread" last night to help me finish leftover Mexican beans and rice and to celebrate la dios de los Muertos or the day of the dead.  It's very sweet and yummy, especially with ice cream.  This holiday also happens to be election day (yes we did), and my friend Chrisie's birthday and her friend and my long time bloggy friend, Deanne's birthday as well!  Happy Birthday, ladies!  
Solar Panels on our chicken coop**.  Why, you ask?  Well, to keep their water from freezing this Winter, possibly keep them laying longer and save my husband from running electricity all the way up the hill.  Makes sense to me!  Besides if it works well heating them, down the road we may try the same for us.  For now, this is one pampered puffy cheeked chicken (aka. green egg laying Ameraucana). 

Today two kids played and played and played with their new quilts which arrived in the mail from their Grandma and Grandpa (my folks) who live in Germany.  My mother lovingly made each one out of flannel.  Thank you, Mom...I mean, Grandma*!!! They're BEAUTIFUL!!!
The box got it's fair share of play time in too (quilt under bottom).  
Tonight we had a wonderful Singaporean meal made by our resident Indonesian with Amish chicken parts.  It was served with Mexican "spicy" (aka pop) that was on sale at Buehler's and topped off with German cookies which came with the quilt from my parents.  This is our new mode of world travel...

...tomorrow, back to Guatemala (or down the road) for mutual Spanish/English lessons!***


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Reference to an inside joke about how every time I call my mom or dad,, "Mom" or "Dad", my little Z adamantly protests, "That's not "Dad", that's "Grandpa"!!!" or "That's not "Mom", that's "Grandma"!!"  He does it even when I'm talking to them on the phone, we have to laugh because he's so good at policing me in this!  

**Don't ask me what the chicken coop story has to do with traveling, it was blog worthy, I thought, so I threw it in there. :-)

***Aren't they adorable?  Like their aunt and parents (who work all day), they speak no English.  They hang out with Z and Juju while I try to teach their aunt English with the itsy bitsy bit of Spanish I know.   Hablo poquito Espanol!!!  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

what we do

You might have noticed I haven't been blogging much lately.  I have been busy.  Summer was frenetic, now we're trying to get into a Fall routine.

Here's what busy looks like to us:
  • Learning Spanish at weekly classes and embarrassing weekly get-togethers with a sweet Guatemalan lady who speaks no English.  We spent three hours together today, challenging but our best day yet!!!
  • Learning about Indonesia every day! A few words here and there too, like "Silakan Makan!"  Please eat! (FYI, Marcella's family was unaffected by the tsunami over the weekend and is safe.)
  • Mommy and Me every Tuesday - going very well!!
  • Preparing for the College and Career class I teach at the homeschool co-op every Thursday - love this class and my gym class of high schoolers (not much prep for that though).
  • Changing diapers and picking up toys (thinking I should be making my children do this!)
  • Making everyday life an education for two little ones (we recently poo pooed the structured school time for fear our four year old would develop an aversion to school forever, we'll try again when he's older).
  • Cooking and baking like it's nobody's business!  Every other day I try to make either bread or cookies.  We're trying to eat local and healthy too, which means homemade soup or beans and rice most meals, much to the kids' chagrin. 
  • Praying and fasting, not reading as much of God's Word as I'd like...
  • Leading worship at church on Sundays, something we love to do.  We just learned a new song we can sing easily in any language.  We introduced it last week in Indonesian and English, and this week we're adding Spanish.  
  • Letting my eyebrows grow out, it's not as easy as you would think. They're almost back to their splendid bushy selves (circa 1989!).  I don't know, I'm just trying to be more natural, but I guess I shouldn't have to try, should I?  
  • Doing more and more virtual tours lately, like this one:
Play VisualTour
  • Laughing with Ben  every time we hear Juju cry then hear Z say, "Sorry Juju." and she says, "It's ok." then hear the whole scenario again three more times in a row.  Or when Juju says, "I tooted!"
  • Trying to be in the moment with my children, present, listening, positive....
  • Putting little hair "pretties" into a little girl's hair every morning
  • Keeping a list of a four year old boy's dreams of fun ideas like making a treasure chest (a big one!), making our own "Ring the Gack" game inspired by Dr. Suess and lots more as he thinks of 2-3 a day.
  • Dreaming about having the time or motivation to exercise or get back into martial arts.
  • Dreaming about having an amazing flower, herb and vegetable garden in the back yard. 
  • Ushering the chickens out of the neighbor's yard, naughty chickens!   
  • And taking lots of pictures and videos of our crazy children, chickens and dogs.  Here's a few:






So, the camera story got really painful and I've been dreading having to tell you, but long story short, I had to send back the used one I got from the UK and bought a new one from this store.  The price was definitely the best on the web, HOWEVER, a creepy guy from Brooklyn called me and tried to upgrade my camera battery.  He told me the one I was getting only lasted for a half hour and he could get me a four hour one for $72, no make that $50.  I didn't feel good about it and told him I would not be giving him any personal information over the phone, he said he already had all my information and he was the sales rep for bpelectronics' olympus department.  I told him no thank you.  He said, "What are you thanking me for?!"  I had no idea what to say.  Afterwards I looked up batteries on-line and couldn't find any battery options for my camera and when it arrived, whaddaya know?  It lasted at least four hours.  What a con!  I read some reviews of this store (since) and several people have gotten yelled at by a man with a Brooklyn accent.  I don't recommend the store, but am very thankful I got the camera I paid for and at a very good price.  I used a safe credit card for my purchase so I should be ok if they try anything fishy later on.  Let's hope!

After living with Debbi right after she spent five months in Uganda and now with Marcella, I've been given a two excellent live-in examples of how not to be rushed or too busy.  You'd think I'd learn, but I'm very slow at slowing down, you see.

Here's a quick update on Stumpy:  
She's finally growing feathers, and just in time for Winter!  What a good girl!!
peace to you.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Great Grandma G

Here's a couple of Five Generation pictures taken with each of my little ones.  I have only taken the kids to Iowa one at a time as lap children, so they each have their own picture.


I don't mean to brag, but I have a VERY cool Great Grandma.  She's feisty and witty, she's tough as nails and she loves all of her family unconditionally.  She is so much fun to be around.  She's also very talented.  She worked well into her eighties on gorgeous quilts for each of her grandchildren.  You see the sewing kit beside her chair in the above picture?  Well, she taught me how to sew a button hole (with a tiny needle and thread) while I was there visiting last month.  I messed up and she finished the whole thing for me, because she can.  She broke her neck last year (she's all better now), and the first time my grandparents had to leave her alone after the accident they left all their numbers of where they'd be and how to contact them and Great Grandma said, "What do you think I'm gonna do?  Burn the house down?"  You can't spend too long around my Great Grandma without laughing, she really brings out the fun in life. I love that she wears Sketchers!    
I'm sorry, I'm boasting, I just think she's great (to Juju and Z she's great great!!). 
While I was there, I took lots of pictures and videos, trying to soak up every minute and make it last for forever. Here's one of the videos I took:

video

I also have a video of her telling the story of how her great great great grandma killed four Indians who tried to break into her house through the doggie door (turns out early settlers had doggie doors!), unfortunately it doesn't want to upload right now.  I've mentioned before about her Grandma who was royalty from Sweden who smoked a pipe and her Grandpa from Sweden who owned a fleet of ships.  She has wonderful stories I could listen to all day every day.

What I haven't told you is that today my Great Grandma turns 98 years old.  I don't think she minds me sharing...  

Here are some fun links to look at: 
A couple of my favorites: In 1912 the Republic of China was established, New Mexico became the 47th state and the Titanic set sail.  Oh, and Woodrow Wilson beat President Taft and Theodore Roosevelt in the general Presidential Election.  

 I hope you have a Happy Birthday Grandma!  
I know I speak for the whole family when I say, 
"We love you the mostest!



Monday, October 18, 2010

My Grandma J

Well, things are back to working again so I can finally give a proper birthday wish to my Grandma in Tennessee.  She thanked me for not posting any pictures of her, saying, "Perfect! You know me so well!".  So, out of respect for her wishes, I won't post any photos like the ones of her on this post or this one.

However, I will post some pictures she drew.  You see, my Grandma is an artist.  She can paint or draw just about anything.  She likes to look at a picture for inspiration, but the skills are all hers.  Her Daddy (my Great Grandpa Miles, who Z was middle named after) was an artist as well, just like my Daddy is.  

When I was a little girl, she'd send me large envelopes filled with pretty leaves, stickers and silly face drawings.  Now she sends recipes for me, stickers for the kids and drawings for them to color.  What she doesn't know is I keep them in a file with plans to take them all to the printers to make copies of them for coloring books for the kids (hence sparing the originals).  I love getting her drawings.  
(Sorry this one is a pencil sketch and hard to see.)
Aren't they precious?  I am so thankful for my Grandma who always gets excited and squeals when I call her. I used to spend a few weeks every Summer in Tennessee for the six years I lived in Maryland.  While there, she taught me how to make amazing pie crust, set the table (thumb joint from the edge of the table), label an envelope properly (you slide lined paper inside to get your lines straight) and iron clothes among other things.  She's the genetic root of my children's (and my) cute little snort when laughing.  She makes the world's best fudge and chicken madras.   She can sing harmony to any hymn in church, which I try to copy, but I don't read music and so just make it up.  She keeps her house immaculate, which I can't even begin to aspire to with two little ones right now, but she gives me inspiration and tells me, "Bless your home every day."  

She's told me a million times that she prayed for a good husband for me since before I was born and another million times told me how God answered that prayer through Ben...and she's right.  She's the first person I call when I need prayed for and the person I thank for teaching me to believe in the power of prayer.  

Thank you for loving me,  praying for my husband and soaking up our children as much as you can from far away.  We're looking forward to visiting you this Winter!  Happy Birthday again, we love you!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

May the festivities begin...and go on and on and on

This year, you might have noticed that I've featured a few family members on their birthdays, like my my Grandpa in IowaGrandpa in Tennessee, my mom (who I did not do justice to), and my Dad.  I only have three more biological relatives left that aren't cousins, aunts or uncles*.  All three are Grandmas and all three have a birthday in the next three weeks!  How fun is that!?

Well, our first celebrant is.......Grandma J in Tennessee!!!  Happy Birthday Grandma!  
I'm so sorry, I am having some technical problems and I can't access any of my pictures right now.  I've been trying all day.  Sorry, Grandma!!


I'm very thankful for you and hope your day was super special!  love you...




*My in-laws have adopted me and made me family in so many ways that I hesitate to say this sentence.  I do hope to acknowledge them next year as their many birthdays roll around so watch out family!!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Anybody make underwear?

Right now I'm holding a sleeping Juju who is donning two little pigtails in back for the first time and my heart is melting.  She's like concentrated cuteness.  I'd take a picture but alas, the camera story.

I decided to go as cheap as possible and it backfired.  After spending weeks searching for a used camera that would work, I settled on a decent one, I thought, and took it to do a virtual tour and it ran out of memory half way through the house AND in reviewing the pics many of them had lines going through them.  So, I spent all last week searching for something that would do what I want and meet my affordability criteria.  I really want to get a used one.  Without any oaths or promises, I've been trying to only  buy used or homemade this year, I did search for underwear on etsy.com, but they were $35 a pair!  Hence, I've had to make some compromises. I found the camera I wanted on e-bay, it's used, but has a guarantee, so if I have problems (within the first week) I can return it.  It's being shipped from the UK and I'm counting down the days till it arrives on Friday.  It's an Olympus Pen (e-p/1).  My Dad really encouraged me to get a DSLR for quicker picture taking.  I'm so tired of missing the best shots of the kids because my point and shoot cameras have taken so long to respond.  So, there you go, the camera story.  I will take a picture of Juju's cuteness on Friday.   For now you can enjoy one of my recent virtual tours...the million dollar house!  


Play VisualTour

He likes hunting, can you tell? It's a good house for a hunter.  Anyways, I don't do a ton of virtual tours, like 2-3 a month lately.  I had hoped that the income from that job would at least pay my school loan payment (our last debt, may it go away and soon!!), but since that's not always happening, I was excited when I was asked to do another job!  It fits me well and gets me back into the world of psychology.  There's a brand new girl's group home starting in Gnadenhutten, Ohio (20 min. away) that needed a contract licensed counselor to sign their paperwork, like intake, treatment plans, reviews, discharge paperwork and so on.  Thanks to a connection from my old Kung Fu class I got the job!  I helped write my own job description as Clinical Supervisor of the home and go out this week to help in the creation of the documents that I will at some point sign.  Others complete the paperwork, I sign it.  We're in the process of recruiting girls for the home still, so I'm really getting involved from the ground up.  It won't be a lot of hours either, but it'll be a good way to keep my resume up to date and not get too far out of the loop while I'm busy homeschooling the kids.

Speaking of which, I should really get up and do some school with Buddy.  Later!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Weekend of Squeezes

A couple of weekends ago Juju and I got on a little plane and flew out West to see my grandparents in Iowa.  My middle name is the same as my grandma's there (Irene) and Juju's middle name is the same as her great great grandma (Eleanor) who was also there for us to soak up. All the greats can get confusing, so for the sake of this article, I'm going to reference them as from Juju's perspective.





 

Can you tell that we soaked each other up?  We did and how.  I got videos of  Great Great Grandma telling stories about her Great Grandma (to be shared soon!) and pictures galore as you can see.  I think we all hugged as much as physically possible in a three day period.  Juju ran around like an only child and danced and sang and strutted her stuff because she had the perfect audience who clapped when she paused.  She took to her Great Grandpa quickly and led him around by the finger wherever she willed.  She had a special game she would play with Great Great Grandma at the dinner table where their pointy fingers would run along the table edge until they would meet then they'd bounce up into the air, then they'd laugh.  Great Grandpa and Grandma would play peek-a-boo with a toy froggy at the table too.  Dinners were my favorite part for lots of reasons, the food was so good!!  
We decided to celebrate Juju's birthday a week early together and Great Grandma made a perfect angel food cake with pink icing.  Juju eyed it all day and was SO excited about her party.  After we sang to her and she blew out her candles (which, of course caused us to applaud wildly), I began to cut the cake.  Juju had a look of horror on her face and shouted, "Don't cut the cake!!!" She reached for the candles (which she had already licked) and stuffed them back into the cake and with her hands tried to push the cake back together to fix what Mommy had done.  Under some pressure from soft hearted grandmas I agreed to relight the candles and let her have another go.  We repeated the previously stated lighting and clapping and this time I insisted on cutting the cake afterwards.  Juju, ever stubborn, protested, calmed down to open presents, but did not eat the cut cake.  She did partake of some ice cream however.  

We had a wonderful visit and can't wait to go back!