Tuesday, April 29, 2014

in the middle of my city

One of the things I love about living in France, are the beautiful parks that you can find in almost every city; all meticulously manicured. They are so beautiful, especially at this time of the year when the trees all have their new green leaves and everything is blooming.

Rennes has a several great parks in the city, but one that is my favorite is called "Thabor" and it's right smack in the middle of downtown. Wanna see it?

A couple weeks ago when I was there, they were preparing for some festival, and had these huge lightbulbs hanging from the trees.

The morning sunlight was just beautiful!

They change the flowers regularly, and always do beautiful flowerbed arrangements and designs.

Wanna come over and take a walk and sit in those awesome reclining chairs?

Lindsay, I was thinking of you so much when I was here and taking pictures!! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

42 wiebes

I am one lucky girl to have 41 relatives on my Mom's side. Well, more than that now with cousins who are married and my cousins' children. But 41 blood relatives. And they are awesome! I love my aunts and uncles and cousins!

Joel and I have been joking around for a while about the needs of doing a "wiebe family tree" in order to keep all the names straight and to know who comes from what family. I mean, 42 people is a lot of people! Yesterday, we decided to make into a game, and it was hilarious.

He highly endorses this post, by the way! 

I cut out everyone's name and put a piece of sticky tack behind each one. The spouses were eliminated for level 1!

Six branches for 6 children, and with Grandma and Grandpa up there, it was time to begin. 

While he didn't have any trouble with who was Grandpa and Grandma, he had some creative ideas for what "W.F." stood for! 

First family done and 6 out of 6! 

Some of the names were harder than others. Danae? Who's Danae? 

He was cracking me up with the reasoning for why certain people should be in the same family. 

We had 2 rules. 

1. If he got the aunt and uncle who were married correct, I put a heart sticker between them. Not everyone got a heart...

2. He had 3 wild cards: he could ask me to place any card he chose, if he didn't know.

He was quite confident of his tree when all was said and done, and didn't even use all his wild cards! 

It was very creative. Danae, as you can see, you are the daughter of Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Doug and your siblings are Lisa, Matthew, Casey, Tiffany and Justin! 

Counting how many he got right...25/42! Not bad for level 1! 

We got everyone back where they belonged.

But it wasn't until Melanie commented (on instagram) "you do know that it goes Florene, Donna, Doug, Marcy...right?" OOPS! I did know that! Didn't I?! 

Guess I better keep reviewing too! Level 2 is adding spouses and level 3 children? 

I need to attach a picture to each name now! #gettingreadyforsummerinks

I am so thankful for this guy; who not only wants to play my crazy games, but is eager to learn more about my family! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

the surprise double date

A couple months ago, Pauline and I got together and plotted how we could surprise "our guys" with a fun double date. After looking up several opears, concerts, and plays, we saw that Rennes was playing Monaco in soccer (#2 team in France) in April, and just 1 day after Bob's birthday (Bob = husband of Pauline). The choice was made. I mean, I'm sure the guys would have loved to sit through an orchestra concert, but give them the choice between that and a soccer game... yeah, it was a no-brainer! 

So we bought the tickets, 2 months in advance, and told them to reserve April 12th for a special date night! We didn't tell them that it was a double date, or anything else about the evening. Joel and Bob are great friends, so we knew they'd both be thrilled to hang out. 

As the date approached, Pauline and I tried to think of creative ways to get them to the stadium and surprise them. In the end, because we all had other stuff going on in the afternoon, we just decided to meet at the stadium, in our side-by-side seats, and surprise them that way. Oh, and we had banana splits planned for afterwards back at my house! 

That settled, I still wanted to find a creative way of telling Joel what we were going to do. I came up with 3 clues. 

3 word games. In English. Word games, for several reasons: 

1) To find the place I was going to buy him a coke at -- I figured if I was going to pay for the coke, he'd have to work for it! 
2) To tell him we had tickets to the game that evening
3) English word games are really awesome!! It reminded me of my Kstate days when Flat and I would do the crosswords and the cryptoquips from the daily newspaper! In Mr. Dayton's class!! 

He picked me up at 18h and the games began! 

This is probably where he found my mistake. Yes, HE found MY English cryptoquip mistake...Even the guy behind him is chuckling. hashtag embarassing

The prize was in the envelope, and only if he mastered clue #3. NBD for this French guy.

He was pretty excited about the tickets! We walked for about 45 minutes to the stadium and there ran into Bob and Pauline. Almost literally. They walked right past us -- Pauline saw us, but not Bob, so we decided to keep the surprise going until the last minute. We went through security, walked up the stairs to find our seats, and when Bob saw Joel, he let out the LOUDEST scream and started jumping up and down! He was SO excited! The whole stadium turned around to see what the commotion was all about! (Slight exaggeration added for emphasis on big emotional moment)

They were pretty excited! It was super fun for Pauline and I to see them thoroughly enjoying themselves -- well, we had a great time, as well! We tried our best to get a good selfie. 

Do you think the guys will organize a date at the spa for us now?? :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

a little bit of rennes randomness :)

(I'm still waiting on Danae's promised questions for a new blog post, but she seems to have forgotten!)

Things are so beautiful and springy around here! The cherry trees in the park beside my house are all blooming, and it is absolutely gorgeous walking up and down those paths.

My orchid that I got from Joel that I thought I had killed is blooming. It's a miracle. Truly it is!

And my little buddy Joshua is also growing like a weed. I wish this picture wasn't blurry! He's so cute!

Lindsay, these pictures are mostly for you! Look how big he's getting!

He and his mama live about a 10 minute walk from my house, and I drive them to church every Sunday. It's fun to have a special time with her each Sunday and with him too. Last week, they came over for lunch after church and he was SO entertaining! I tried to get him to say "melissa" but I wasn't quite successful! YET!

Last week we celebrated Steph and Steph's birthday over here. I love hosting so much! Mom -- the banner! :)

Such sweet sweet girls! 

And tomorrow is another BIG day!!!! Guess who has a birthday?? 

Happy happy Birthday, Abby!! make sure Clint does all the dishes and housework for you tomorrow! See you SOON! :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

craft times continue!

Last week, I had the little staff girls over for our monthly craft time. We made Easter Egg Baskets and I think they turned out so cute! I always hope one of the girls will tell me that they want to give me what they made, but that hasn't happened yet! :)

But before we got to the Easter baskets, the older girls started out with a card-making kit that my Mom made for them. When I was in Niger at Christmas and going through her beautiful cards, she suggested taking several of these DIY kits she had put together (all of the pieces were already cut out) and then having the girls make their own card. 

I thought it was a great idea! So here are their cards, Mom! My Mom's is in the middle and Julie and Gabrielle each made one. Fun idea. 

I think these baskets are one of my favorite crafts we've done. I loved all the colors of the eggs and they did a great job! Little baby sister came to craft time too (she slept through it this time, but in no time she will be joining us at the big girl table!!) 

Anna is getting better and better at doing things herself, and I thought her color choices were so great!

It's so fun to watch them be little artists and really work hard on a project for a little bit!

They were very proud of their finished Easter Egg baskets 

This afternoon we're celebrating Steph and Steph's birthdays here at my house, and I still have lots of cupcakes to frost!!