Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Amidst the hustle and bustle of pre-Christmas flurry came a most welcomed visit from my friend Sue Mahony and her family! They traveled from Decatur, Illinois with plans of seeing both the Ribbe's in Columbia and other friends in Greenville! Sue's four boys and my four kids made for quite a lively bunch! We enjoyed swimming in their hotel pool, going to the zoo, and just talking, talking, and more talking! I am so glad Sue was able to see our life here in SC! On Sunday evening our family went to the annual Christmas Ball for Church of the Apostles! It was quite an "out of the box experience" for the Ribbe clan! We had all taken dance lessons for two weeks prior to the event, and impressed ourselves at least with our ability to pull off a Waltz! Eli and Jacob hung close to the food table for most of the night, while Rob, Ben, Grace and I took our turns out on the dance floor. As evidenced by the picture above, I think we "clean up" rather well!!
As I write this entry, I am sitting at Rob's sisters house in Memphis, TN. We are still on our Christmas vacation that began over a week ago as we left Columbia and drove south to Orlando! There we had a nice dinner with Great Grandma Moak, Aunt Doreen and Uncle Al. The next day we enjoyed a fabulous visit to Sea World, compliments of Grandma and Grandpa Moak's Christmas generosity! Ben was able to participate in the Beluga Whale Interaction which he will blog about in another entry! After a much fun filled day, we got back in the suburban and traveled the remaining three hours to Marco Island where we relaxed in the sun for five glorious days! We felt totally spoiled as we lounged by the heated pool, collected sea shells on the beach, slept with the warm breezes of the ocean blowing on us, and lived in a sixth floor luxurious condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico (thank you Evons!!). God smiled on us with temperatures in the low 80's and lots of sunshine! Celebrating Christmas without snow was a new experience for all of us! We opened presents around a potted plant which we decorated with a paper star on the top! The kids were overjoyed to receive a Nintendo Wii and struggled with playing that or going out into the Florida sunshine (boy is that bad parenting or what?). We reluctantly left Marco Island on Sunday, our bellies full of delicious coastal fish and other treats! Sixteen hours later we find ourselves here in Memphis, anticipating four fun days with Sandy, Pete, Hayley, Katie, Laney and Lydia Hansen!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
"In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength". This verse from Isaiah best sums up how we are feeling here in South Carolina. We have been experiencing much rest and renewal, mostly through being more still and listening to the Lord...and he has been saying a lot! We are especially grateful for everyone who has had to sacrifice in some way to make this time away a reality! From all of us in the Ribbe family....Thank you! This picture is of the place in our home where much rest is found.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
What a wonderful treat to have our dear friends from HoneyRock visit us Monday on their way to North Carolina! Dell, Heather, Haley, Jackson, Jordan & Jacob Ledbetter drove all night from Three Lakes and landed on our front porch at 10AM on Monday morning! Grace and Eli volunteered to stay home from school so they could enjoy their friends (what a sacrifice!). It took no time at all for all six kids to be fully engaged in playing and picking up where they left off five months ago. Rob and I loved catching up on Dell & Heather's lives as well as sharing about our experience here in Columbia. After a quick tour of our neighborhood and lunch, we had to wave goodbye to our friends as they headed on to their Grandmothers house. Of course they did not leave us empty handed, but showered us with gifts and well wishes from friends back home. Though our time was brief, it was enough to fill our hearts and encourage us on for the final five months!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
We are being kept very busy with the pre-Christmas events that fill the schedule of every parent of school aged children! Jacob performed a short solo on his trumpet in his "holiday" band concert this past Tuesday. It was a combination concert with the middle school orchestra, chorus, intermediate and advanced bands. I especially enjoyed a number called "Aurora Borealis" which incorporated the chorus, science team (via powerpoint presentation), art, dance and band. What a great idea to use multiple mediums for one song! We also went to Ben's beginning band mini-concert on Friday. This performance lasted 12 minutes and was followed by cookies and punch. We were quite impressed by how far the 6th graders have come in just two months of actual playing!
Today Eli and I went to visit his 4th grade teacher Mrs. Hamilton who is on maternity leave until January. We couldn't resist buying "Jennings" a Green Bay Packer t-shirt as a gift! His birth is extra special as it occured on October 10th, Eli's birthday!
I officially graduated from my Wilton I cake decorating class. Pictured above is the final project. My family is disappointed that I am finished, as I got to bake and decorate a new cake each week! I had a lot of fun and am hoping to continue on to course II in January.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
What a fun Thanksgiving week! The kids had five days off of school which we tried to fill with things to do lest they climb the walls (or drive Rob and I to:)).
Bob and June came to visit from Grand Rapids, MI. We really enjoyed showing them around Columbia and celebrating Ben's 12th birthday & Thanksgiving. Since Ben is a new fan of both the USC Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers, I decided to decorate a birthday cake for both teams! Ben enjoyed getting new Packer gear, a digital camera and a ticket for an upcoming "interact with Beluga Whales" event at Sea World in a few weeks! Grandma & Poppy's visit ended with a wonderful slide show of June's recent trip to Italy as well as opening some "Italian" Christmas presents!
On Friday the six of us took a spur of the moment trip to Charleston. What a blast! It was a beautiful 65 degree day and we enjoyed walking through the town marveling at all the historic homes and sites. We took a tour of the old Slave Mart where slaves used to be auctioned off. It was very humbling! We spent the night at a hotel and enjoyed a quick dip in the outdoor pool (brrrrrr!) and a long soak in the hot tub. I love snuggling in with everyone to watch a movie which we did in two groups...boys watching "Batman" and Grace and I watching "The Santa Clause". We slept in longer than we had planned due to the comfy beds and room darkening curtains! On Saturday we went to Patriots Point which is a awesome naval "museum" consisting of a WWII aircraft carrier complete with all the "fixings". The boys LOVED exploring all through the ship and fiddling with all the knobs and gadgets! We also explored a WWII submarine. How any sailor survived mentally in that thing I will never know? The whole place took us about five hours to explore, so our feet were very tired by the end of the day!
On Sunday we had the opportunity to attend a church pastored by a friend of ours. It was a very different but wonderful service! The pastor is from Guinea, West Africa. She and her husband came to the US fourteen years ago and felt called to serve the poor and down trodden in Columbia. A church was started and we were able to be at the service to celebrate their "new" building. The service lasted three hours and was full of dancing, clapping, singing, hugs, testimonies, scripture reading and prayers (many in french!)...all done with lively passion! We were the only white people there besides our friends, and felt totally loved and welcome into their fellowship! We were invited to stay for lunch after the service and enjoyed some delicious African food.