December 26, 2014

October 2014...birthdays, a conference and beautiful FALL pictures!

You thought you'd seen all our families birthdays by now....well, there are 3 in October, so get your birthday hat back on! :) 
Sam's is October 1st and since we had a conference to leave to on the 2nd, and Sam was working on the 1st we just did a crazy breakfast table for him. 

Everybody loves Geico gecko!

We had an amazingly beautiful Autumn! Maybe all autumns are this wonderful, but we don't take advantage of them as we did this year! This fall, we actually remembered to go persimmon picking (or gathering) not one time, not two times, but three or four times! We are well-stocked for the winter! :)
There was one especially beautiful beautiful afternoon! Which just happened to be October 1st, Sam's birthday!

Alexandre climbed the persimmon tree and kindly shook the fruits down to us. I won't mention how he kindly refrained from using us as target practice. Because that would be a slight lie. 

Little gems: Native Missouri Persimmon

Gathering Persimmons

I love the pictures Elodie captured! So fallish!

Back home...
B-day boy

The cheesecake. 
Sam requested a healthy coffee cheesecake (I make a wonderful regular sugarless cheesecake and Sam loves invented this coffee cheesecake sweetened with honey and stevia and hope I can remember what I did so I can share it with you soon!)

When brothers get old, you run out of cake decorating ideas. This is an eggshell personalized with a sharpie pen. Brilliant.

On October 2nd, we headed out to Kansas City MO for the 2014
 Family Economics conference! 
We passed this unusual wreck on the highway...traffic was drastically slowed down by it! In fact, we were supposed to be travelling on the shown highway, but instead had to take a service road for a while.

We had our own share of misfortunes: 
In the course of the day, we had to stop to get gas. 
Before we left the station, our Dad decided to randomly (nothing is random, by the way people!) test the brakes. 
Imagine his surprise when they did not work. 
Like at all. 
We pulled over to the side of the gas station and the usual ''fix the van'' routine, that too many of us have become accustomed to, commenced. 

   This usually follows a routine wherein half the family settles back to reading/writing/amusing themselves with the satisfied knowledge that ''Papa can fix it'' while the other half (or more like 35%) 
vocally explores all possible catastrophes past present and future in relation
 to the present state of affairs. 
Despite all efforts to remain optimistic (an effort I'll admit I don't necessarily employ unless absolutely necessary or unless I am the one to blame for the situation), there were some blatant facts looming out to us: 
1. We had paid for our dear hotel room in Kansas City. 
2. A van is not a suitable or awesome substitute for a fun hotel room
3. We had paid (it's always the $$$ in case you haven't noticed) for our table at the conference and didn't want to arrive too late to set up!
4. The conference began that evening and it was already 2-ish pm and we were 2-ish hours away from our destination!
5. What would we eat for breakfast?
(It's always the money and the food, btw)

Well, long story short, our Dad got to work on the brakes.
 Sam went to charge his phone at McDonald's and we didn't see him for the next 2 hours.
 I had time a plenty to master my entire Bulgarian language course. 
Which I didn't because even in the midst of  introducing myself in that beautiful language to an imaginary Bulgarian hotel receptionist, I was still very much standing beside our van in a gas station where kind ladies dropped off huge boxes of granola bars for the children (causing certain sisters who read too many books to contemplate whether or not it was right to accept ''charity'') and could not for the life- or death- of me imagine myself in
 beautiful Bulgaria. 

Short story long, Papa fixed the brakes just enough for us to go careening down the road to the ''nearby'' auto shop where we arrived with a flourish (as in, using the emergency brake). 
As soon as we arrived in style, the heavens welcomed us with the most torrential downpour imaginable under the circumstances and certain of us had vivid imaginings of spending the entire night in the dark cold of the van in this little town abounding with knows what kind of murderers, robbers and villains desiring to kidnap an entire van full of worried French-Canadians and 24 dolls' dresses to sell at the would-be conference. 

Do you believe in miracles? 
Because I do.
 In fact, I did the whole time although I wouldn't admit it aloud to my family for fear of getting their hopes up (you may not know this but I believe in presenting as many negative viewpoints as possible so that in the end everyone is much happier than they would have been otherwise! Yes, I am wise). 
After 4 hours (I think it was) of worry, our Dad absolutely fixed those brakes! And we were off! Just like that!
We only got pulled over once after that incident by a suspiciously Nazi-like ranger who questioned Papa on his burnt-out taillight and his imperfect driving habits (it was incredibly windy that night and our Dad was quite sleepy- nothing to be ashamed of! That Nazi-ranger must be have been a terrible perfectionist. He explained that we were fluctuating between 60-65 (or 70 if that's allowed- I can't remember MO highway speed limits)
 mph... I think he was just bored. He was awfully young.)

We arrived at the conference, set up and scurried back to our hotel room to rest. 
Next morning...
Breakfast at the Hotel! 
always a delightful occasion...
...even if you bring 80% of your breakfast with you! Wait. I lie. There were eggs- actual eggs- at this hotel (Pear Tree Inn) so maybe it wasn't 80%. Don't ask about Laura-Lise's percentage. It was 110% hotel food. And don't ask what. :) 

At the Family Economics Conference 2014!
It was a great church for a conference. We grew quite fond of it and it was quite conducive to attentive listening. 

I was slightly interested in the sound guy's screen. What does it all mean?

Hey! It's Sam the salesman! We thought that was humorous. 
Overall, there was quite a bit to learn from this conference! We were very encouraged and motivated by every one of the talks!
Especially Steve Riddell's- most of our family attended every talk he gave! We listen well to funny ENTPs! And could he make us laugh! Loved it. 
We also benefited from hearing Dave Tucker and R.C Sproul.

We had a table in the lobby on which or rather from which we sold literature and historical dolls costumes.  It was so fun meeting people and talking with them! There were so many lovely families at this conference!

Jessie designed tags for each of the doll costumes
It was freezing outside, but we spent a few minutes soaking up some sunshine....
Sam the man

While we were at the conference, Nikola and Jessie celebrated their birthday! 
(they are 8 years apart, but are birthday twins by the way!)

Back at the hotel the night of the 3rd, we had a little celebration in honor of Nikola and Jessica's birthday....
Mummy brought some things from home to decorate the hotel room :) 

I brought this delicious (despite the impression you may have received from this greenish photograph) pear caramel cake and brownies. And heavy cream which I shooketh until it whippeth. 

Saturday night, on our way home we stopped at Cracker Barrel- simultaneously frightening them and making their day! Don't you dare take a look at what Laura-Lise ordered (to the left of me the camera person).

Back home, and busy with life! 
The wedding venue where N and I work was busy giving brides and grooms the wedding of their dreams! I wish I had pictures from every wedding I've worked. There are so many beautiful ones...
One of the October weddings reception

Ashley Fisher was their talented photographer
It was such a lovely wedding!

Some of the portraits Sam and Elodie took of our little sisters 
after the wedding

Pere Marquette State Park
I told you it was an amazing Fall! One fine Friday, when Sam was off work we took advantage of the glorious weather and headed out to Pere Marquette State park for our annual fall walk

The Autumn splendour took our breath away!

Jessie case you hadn't noticed, smiles abounded on that beautiful day!

We like to take pictures. :) Want to guess how many doubles we end up with on our poor computer?

Well- what do you know? 

Elodie decided to try a panorama of me. 

Looks like a modern take on the Lord of the Rings or something. Just don't dare look inside the log. 


Happy siblings! Elodie got cut out of the picure. :(

That same evening we headed over to our friends' home for a camfire/campout! Great fun!

Around the campfire with friends

We enjoyed a huge bonfire!

I'm sufficiently frightened

Do. not. try. this. at. home.


Next morning...we survived the night (it was quite pleasant actually! I slept better than in my own bed...which isn't saying much. But anyway it was comfortable).
The little ones proceeded to decorate the entire driveway with chalk...

The tents all lined up!



too much sweetness for one blog post!

Sara made this rose from leaves!

what is it, Jessie? 

The next day, Elodie took some random pictures after church....

this is so sweet

Just a few days after the campout, my 2 older sisters and I headed back to the friends' home to spend the week with our friend Sara! We had a great time accomplishing things and enjoying eachother's friendship!

trying to get the camera set up for a group picture of us...

That's better. 

We took a walk and marvelled at the Autumn foliage

Nikola took a picture of us, then I took about 20 of her. I think she got a better deal than we did.

On the Tuesday we went to a ladies' Bible study, shopped for needed groceries, etc. On Wednesday we went to the University for an American government class and then that night we created a fun Indian meal for ourselves!

Stuffed peppers and pita bread
We have a variety of favourite Indian cookbooks, but this night we used this one. 

Stuffed potatoes


Once the smoke at died down from our deep frying success, we seated ourselves down t feast. 
The chefs and consumers. things turned out, while we were gone our family not only found a great deal on a clothes washer and dryer, Jessie and Elodie also got to go spend a couple nights at another friends' home! They were busy painting the nursery.

the almost finished wall

At our other friends' home, we also got to head over to Nick and Hannah's abode and help them pull up carpet and paint!

sign from the wedding

Hannah working on the walls

Randomness (as if lizards could ever be random): we picked up these guys when we went hiking at Pere Marquette! The big one is still alive and making it through the winter!

Katia joined the ranks of shorn sheep this October...she sold her hair for $65.00! :) 
She's already excited about growing it out to sell again...a girl after my own heart! 

It helps that the haircut looks so cute on her!

I wish I looked like that! :) 
My little French-Canadian sister!

So....what did you think? I loved the pictures I shared in this post: they were so bright and golden! Autumn is the most wonderful time of the year, is it not?