Category Archives: Aunts and Uncles

P365 – Day 100 (Easter Eggs)

I like to think of holidays (including birthdays) as sort of fluid. There’s no need to be bound by the actual date, is there? In our house, we open Christmas presents for a good week. It isn’t that we have so many gifts (although with five children there is certainly a respectable pile under the tree) but that we like to S…T…R…E…T…C…H out our Christmas celebrations. Once the last present is open, it means Christmas is over.

where's the dye?

Although my primary Love Language is probably quality time, I have a strong love of gifts. It seems rather shallow in comparison to some of the other gifts. Although maybe you aren’t supposed rank the 5 love languages – I guess that kind of defeats the purpose of understanding people feel loved in different ways and in order to make them FEEL loved, you need to speak the language that communicates best to them.

Still, I feel a bit childish to admit that a present makes me happy. What am I, five? None the less, it’s true and I’ve come to accept it about myself. Thankfully I have a husband who LOVES to give presents almost as much as I enjoy receiving them. Aren’t we a wonderful team! One year my birthday lasted for several weeks with Tim bringing out a steady stream of presents. It was heavenly!!

bowls of color

I digress (it was all that talk of presents, got me a bit giddy). I was hoping a discussion on elaborate, stretched out celebrations would distract everyone from the fact that today’s pictures revolve around dying Easter eggs.

And Easter was several days ago. Sigh. I blame this terrible breech in egg dying protocol on my mother in law. I also blame my mother. My mother in law went and caught the flu this Easter. Now how are we supposed to dye Easter eggs and eat jelly beans and chocolate all day if Grandma is sick? Especially if I am on record as being generally opposed to candy and rely on the grandparents to provide my children with confections of all sorts. Some people have no respect for proper traditions.

dan, josh, andrew

2000 boys

Daniel, Joshua and Andrew wait patiently for Grandma to fire the starter pistol on the great Egg Dying Competition of 2000.

rachel's working hard

Rachel’s hogging the blue in 2000.

And my mother? She loves dying Easter eggs. She will work hard to gather some children (even if they are grown up, not a single one of them under the age of 10, or even 25) for an afternoon of Easter egg dying. She does, however, live in Michigan. Yes, Michigan. That is MUCH too far to go for an afternoon of egg dying. Some years our family has managed to combine our Michigan visit with Easter (truly a worthy feat).

phil and daniel

Here my brother, Phil, and Daniel work hard at their eggs in 2004.

sarah and jenn
more sarah and jenn

It’s 2004 and Sarah lets Aunt Jenn help her a little bit but eventually she wants to get her hands on that spoon and do some dipping herself.

Of course, this produces ONE yellow egg and some very messy fingers requiring serious cleaning up.

cleaning up sarah

With all these mothers not cooperating a bit, it’s amazing we managed to dye Easter eggs at all. Thankfully we had an episode of Bonanza to console and buoy our spirits. Afterward, it was time for some serious egg work.

How can we possibly eat any of the children’s precious works of art? “No, don’t eat the [insert color here] one!” With five children (and parents who want to play with the pretty colors as well), how many eggs do you need to hard boil? How many egg salad sandwiches can one family eat? How long do hard boiled eggs last? These are significant questions. I remember talking to my mother last week.

“Are you ready for your company, Mom?
“Oh, yes. We’ll have an easy lunch, that’s all settled. I’m worried about something else, though.”
“Oh dear, what’s wrong?”
“How many eggs do I boil? How many will each person want to dye? 3? 4? More than that? I’m a bit concerned.”
“Um, Mom, is Dan coming over with the kids?”
“No, it’ll just be the four of us. Thom and Jenn are coming for lunch. But you know your father, he always surprises me and wants to do his fair share of Easter egg dying.”
“I’m sure you’ll work it out, Mom.”

rachel and david

So, you see, some of the great questions in life must be puzzled out each year.

Happy Late Easter Egg Dying!!


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Costa Rica Part 2

More thoughts on Costa Rica from Cindy:

One day we rode a canopy over the rain forest and saw gorgeous vegetation from above.

Canopy ride

We were intrigued by all the secondary plants that are able to grow on the primary tree; each one seeking the sun while at the same time firing long, arrow-like roots to the distant ground.

Another time our bus stopped to observe a native banana-harvesting operation, as they readied the bananas for export. It was fascinating to see how each bunch was conveyed to the plant where they were washed, sorted and boxed for shipping.

We drove to the Pacific coast (across the continental divide). Bill was tickled to be able to jog along the beach on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts in the same week.

We stayed at Jaco Beach and spent the morning at the shore, surrounded by monkeys and beautiful birds.

On the way to the beach, we took a hike that included crossing a suspended bridge. It wasn’t as scary as some of us feared. It was 30 or so feet off the ground.

entrance to bridge

The entrance to the bridge.

grandad on the bridge

crossing bridge

below the bridge


We spotted many iguana during our trip to Costa Rica.

One of the highlights of our trip was eating meals and playing cards each evening with Bill’s brothers and their wives.

dinner together

another dinner

playing cards

Along the trip we enjoyed the many beautiful plants and flowers.

dad and the plants

steve and flowers

hotel flowers

All of the hotels had pools – some days we were too busy to enjoy swimming but when we had a free moment we went down to the water.

dad at the pool

mom and the pool

pool time

pretty pool

The highlight for shopping was in the town of Sarchi, home of the famous Costa Rican ox carts. Painting ox carts is their specialty and we saw many beautiful examples of their work.


traditional ox cart

You can buy one of their painted ox carts and have them disassembled and shipped home. Kate – wouldn’t one of these look beautiful in your Fort Clark sunroom!

dad's cart

painted cart

Finally it was time to go home. We flew on the same plane with Steve and Debby to Charlotte, NC.

leaving san jose for charlotte

This was an amazing sunset that Bill captured with his camera.

sunset flying home

When we left Costa Rica, the temperature was 85 degrees and the sun was shining brightly. When we arrived in Michigan it was 10 degrees. We left the next day for Seattle where it was 50 degrees with nary a sunbeam in sight. Isn’t this an amazing world God has created.


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Costa Rica

I thought it would be fun to include some pictures from Mom and Dad’s trip to Costa Rica. They traveled with my father’s siblings and their wives. They joined 38 other people on Caravan Tours and had a wonderful time exploring the country (at a very reasonable
price). I’ll hand the computer over to Mom.

The best part about the trip was being together with Bill’s two brothers and their wives. We talked and laughed, played cards, shared childhood stories, and just generally enjoyed each other. This is our third time traveling together. Here we are on our last night. Standing–Steve and Debby; Sitting–Charlie and Debbie, Bill and Cindy.

final dinner

Coffee is the main export of Costa Rica. We toured a coffee beanery, brought home bags of coffee beans, saw coffee plantations everywhere we drove, and drank many cups of locally grown coffee. Here is a statue of a coffee bean in the capital, San Jose.

coffee bean statue

coffee britt

Coffee anyone?

We took a hike to the rim of an active volcano, Poas, it was cloudy and foggy but still beautiful.

dad volcano

top volcano

The vegetation and flowers were amazing throughout the entire country. Everything was lush and blooming.

beautiful flower


Bill kept saying, “I know I have this plant in my office–it’s only 6 inches tall.” Something about the Costa Rica rain and warm weather must give them an advantage!


One afternoon our bus stopped at a butterfly farm. The beautiful Morfo butterfly is unique to Costa Rica. When its wings open the color is florescent blue.

dad and the morfo

morfo butterfly

The butterflies feed on plantains.


more butterflies

We left San Jose and drove to the east coast, the Caribbean/Atlantic Ocean. We boarded a boat – the only way to get to Tortuguero Rain Forest. It rained hard each night but cleared up in time for us to get on a small boat and cruise the canals, observing wildlife. “Keep your hands inside the boat” – we saw many caiman along the riverbanks.



Spectacled caimans are small relatives of alligators and crocodiles. The body length (not including tail) of a full-grown spectacled caiman is about three and a half feet.

We saw three types of monkeys. The howler monkeys travel in groups of 40 or 50 and make a loud howling call that is very distinctive. We could hear them at 5:30 am every morning – who needs an alarm clock! The white face monkey is smaller and are friendly. They told us to be careful not to leave things out as the monkeys will come up and snatch “treats” for themselves. The spider monkey is even smaller than the other two and harder to see. This reddish monkey is a distinct type of howler monkey whom our guide calls “Blondie.”


We were constantly amazed by the beautiful plant life.

Tortuguero hotel grounds

more flowersorchid

All the plants reach for the sun, so many of them will attach themselves to a tree and climb high. This is an orchid that is growing on the side of a tree.

On our cruise we drove to the edge of the Costa Rican border and viewed Nicaragua from our boat. There is much turmoil between the two countries and we did not go any closer.

viewing Nicaragua

We had fun using my mother and daddy’s binoculars from Texas, looking at the many birds found in Costa Rica. They were avid bird watchers – we have a long way to go to catch up to Nana and Grandaddy. In Costa Rica, we wanted to see a scarlet Macaw, but didn’t. We did, however, manage to see toucans, rose spoonbills, anhingas, Pied-billed Grebes, many pelicans, Neotropical Cormorants, Tiger-Herons, and many other exotic birds. Beautiful. Costa Rica has something like 850 different species of birds.

More to follow.

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Happy Birthday Aunt Kate

happy b day

Today is my mother and her twin sister’s birthday. We love them both so dearly. The kids shared a few words for their beloved Aunt Kate. Rachel made this sign and will share her thoughts tomorrow.

Aunt Kate (aka Kathy) is the most wonderful aunt a person could ever want. She is loving and kind and encouraging. She is compassionate and merciful and bubbly. She reaches out to the people around her and loves them as friends without reserve. She is wise and affirming and supportive beyond measure.

Every year we try to visit my parents at their summer home in TX; without fail the children (that usually includes Tim and myself) BEG to have Aunt Kate come and join us. It just isn’t proper to have a family gathering without her there. We understand (in the back of our minds) that she has her own children and grandchildren but we greedily claim her as OUR OWN.

I Peter 4:8-11 describes much of how Aunt Kate lives her life:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Aunt Kate loves deeply – she will tell you that she has seen how God’s love can transform the heart and bring about healing and true love.

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Kathy opens her home to friends and family with a generous heart. She loves people with a whole heart.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. Kathy lives out God’s grace in the way she loves those around her, accepting them where they are and with all their faults and foibles, walking along side them.

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. I have hardly ever known anyone who speaks words of encouragement and comfort with such truth and love as Aunt Kate. You have been blessed if you spend time in conversation with her.

If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.Kathy serves faithfully and consistently – in her church, in her family, in her community. Even when weary or busy, she reaches out to claim Christ’s strength to work through her.

Truly she is an amazing person and well do we love her!!!

Here are some words from the children.

David – Have a good birthday, Aunt Kate. I hope you come and see us sometime. Thank you for sometimes giving me presents. I miss you very much. Are you going to have cake on your birthday? I really want for you to come over because I miss you. I just want to see you so much. Have a good time with your sister, Mamie. Thank you for letting me stay at your house at Texas. I really liked it.

david and daniel
Daniel and David, getting ready for bed, at Aunt Kate and Uncle Jerry’s home in Texas.

Daniel – Happy Birthday, Aunt Kate. Did you get any presents for your birthday? What were they? Thank you for the popcorn at Christmas. It was delicious. I liked it when we were with you in Texas. Did you like the photo book about Fort Clark? I miss you. I hope you come and see us.

Sarah – Happy Birthday to you! You look like Mamie.

sarah outside
Sarah – sitting in the windowsill of the sunroom in Aunt Kate’s TX home.

Joshua- Happy birthday Aunt Kate, I hope you had a happy birthday I love you.


Joshua – relaxing in Aunt Kate’s TX porch.

Kathy (proud to be named after her beloved aunt)

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