Saturday, April 16, 2011

McDonnell Family Update

Hi everyone,

Happy almost Easter! Many of you have asked what happened to our blog...nothing really, we just got super busy! I tried to upload lots of pictures a while back, but blogger told us we have to buy more picture space! So in the meantime, I will just write an update and get pictures when I can. Let's catch up from Valentine's Day...

February (post Valentine's Day)- We did a study with our boy and 2 girls discipleship groups on the life of Joseph. We went through the book of Genesis and used a video series from Bluefish. The kids loved it! In fact, we will be using some of the same materials this summer in camp. Joseph is relevant to all of our lives, but especially our kids. Jack is doing well, growing like a weed! We spend our mornings together as a family or at the office working, and then Jeff and I rotate afternoons at the houses. On the weekends we are usually drivers for the kids, taking them to sports practices and games, extracurricular classes, birthday parties, volleyball, errands, church, etc, etc...but we love that time with them. Jack LOVES going to the houses or having the kids over here. They are his buddies and he misses them so much if we go more than a day away.

March - We had several Americans here, including my parents!! We were so thrilled to have them here and get ot show them around. We took them to Sighisoara (an old fortress town where Vlad the Impaler lived ..aka Dracula). We also took them to Brasov and to see Peles Castle. We had a great time in town seeing where we live, play, eat, run errands, etc, etc. Who knew a trip to the mall or grocery store could be so much fun? We of course spent time with our kids...and it is never enough time! We played cards games, talked and played basketball in the courtyard. It is truly a gift to be able to share your passion and love (our kids) and family whom we love so much. They finally got to meet our kids...I will never forget it! Then they took us to Paris for 5 days...all I can say is AWESOME! We had a wonderful time seeing the sights, seeing them, and Jack LOVED seeing the Eiffel tower. We made some wonderful memories all the way around and were so sad to say "see you later," but it wont be long until we see them again. Once we got home, we spent the rest of March celebrating kids birthdays, recovering from 10 days of time with Yaya and Granddaddy, and catching up on business stuff.

April - At the beginning of April we took spring pictures of our kids. They all turned our wonderfully! I was so proud of them. Sounds silly, but getting 26 young teenagers to smile on cue, many at the same time, is quite a challenge!! I will cherish these pictures. We began a new discipleship with our kids on "Making Jesus Lord." We are using a book and going through a chapter a week. This is the 3rd or 4th study for the kids and the newness has worn off. They are having a harder time doing the HW each week, but are faithful in coming and participating each time. I am thankful for that and praying that at the end of the day, they learn more about making Jesus Lord of their lives! The kids are on vacation this week and we have another team in town from New Jersey. We have a few birthdays this week and are getting ready for Easter. It is busy, busy, but we love it that way!

Prayers and Praises - Jeff's brother Sean's cancer diagnosis came back clear and he will just go back in for regular check-ups - Praise the Lord!! Jeff's mom is going to have surgery on Monday to remove an ovarian tumor. We don't know much, but praying the pathology reports come back clear - please pray with us!! Jeff is still on the job hunt, but we have a few leads. Praying that no matter where he finds a teaching/coaching job, that it is the perfect fit and match for him...praying the Lord will work out all the details and soon;) It is nerve racking, but we trust that He will take care of us, like he always does!! Jack is still growing, which is great news! All of his pants are about 2in too short, but we love it! That's the way it should be. He is learning so much everyday and we are shocked by his comments and expressions that he picks up, both in English and Romanian. He has a great imagination and it is so fun to watch! Please pray he would continue to thrive and grow to love the Lord. Please lift up our kids that they would continue to be touched by the Lord and truly make HIM the most important thing in their life. Please pray that this Easter would be different and that they would see the great sacrifice God made on our behalf...that they would really get it!!!

Off to put the Jackster down for a nap...hopefully pictures will be coming soon. I have no idea I could run out of picture space :) Love you all and thanks for reading this blog, praying for us and our kids, and for praising the Lord with us! Blessings, Jen, Jeff and Jack

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day 2011

 In the morning Jack helped me make our Valentine's Banana Bread breakfast in the shape of a heart. He loved adding the pink and red sprinkles and then dancing as it cooked! This was his first "cake" of the day!

This is a hnadshake Old Pa (Jack's great-great-grandfather) taught me when I was little. He thinks it is hilarious!

Then Jack and I headed to the mall to play in the indoor playroom that has a trampoline and a slide that lands in a very fun little ball pit. However, after waiting for 45 minutes for it to open, we headed to the food court and shared a tiramisu cake with Eniko. Jack dove in before I could even snap a picture! is would be Jack's second "cake" of the day! He was loving it as you can imagine! He bounced off all that energy as the playrom opened just in time before his nap.

 When we got hom he practiced the hahandshake as well as saying Happy Valentine's Day and I love you just before going down for a nap...

Then after naptime we all headed over to a new little cafe in the center where we took the kids out for a special Valentine's Day treat. They could pick anything they wanted from the counter and they loved being a little grown up today.
Levi at the counter picking his treat
Ibi, Bex, Laura, me and Daniela
 Jack enjoying his third "cake" with the kids!
Sergiu, Janos, Fanel with Julie and Ovi (educators)
 Siblings: Zsofia, Kati and Levi 
 Jack helping daddy eat...that would be his fourth, yes fourth part of a cake!
 Yes,e are in Romania, not NYC! Such a cute little place.
Some of our older girls: Eni, Kati and Zsofia

Happy Valetine's with my first love:)
 And...noapte buna from our little Valentine showing off his "little" feet!
Happy Valentine's Day from Romania with love!! XOXOXO

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bathtime fun

Snow Ice Cream

Just like at home, it has been snowing here for weeks. Today we decided to make snow cream. Jack LOVED it and was thrilled to make his two favorite things...snow + ice cream! However, next time, we will do it in the morning (not an hour before bedtime) and in Texas rather than in Romania (the buckets were black with ??? after the remaining snow melted...we have lots of big factories here:).

 Our front yard
 Jack and Daddy with the buckets of snow
 Mixing the snow with sugar, vanilla and milk...

 Topped with a few sprinkles, it was a toddler's delight!
Here is a video of Jack after the sugar rush hit...dancing to burn off the energy while we were on skype with his Memaw tonight.

Monday, January 31, 2011

January, etc

Here are a bunch of pictures from our month of January. We have been busy with folks in town from America, snow (lots of it), birthdays, and just everyday life! This should have been several blog posts, but oh well! Here they are...
 Time with Daddy / Opening up a sweet surprise gift from Aunt Peg!

 Picking our toe boogers / loving finger painting!
 Loving on THE blanket and pretending to go night-night

 Entertaining the kids at Casa AnaNadia / trying on Janos' new soccer shoes

 Sneaking a hug from Ibi
 Playing cards with Janos, Zsofia, Daniel and Kati
 Jack and "Mista Wawa"...Laura is his babysitter and our sweet, dear friend
 In our front yard after lots and lots of snow

 Skyping family...oh the joy you bring our little man!
 More skyping
 The staff from Casa Rebecca and Casa AnaNadia. We love these folks
"The Americans" Bruce and Steve (President of our Board) with us and Bex
The office staff
 Playing at home
 Jack LOVES Daniela...reading the Bible together
 Jack wearing someone's glasses at the house / bathtime fun
 Playing with Anna and Levi
 Out at Vetca, our land where we held camp for years...
looks a bit different in the snow!

And the biggest change of January (no, we are not prego....) 
 Jack is officially 2 1/2 years old, 38 inches tall, 37 pounds and growing like crazy. We felt it was finally time to move him out of his crib and into his "Big Boy Bed!" He helped us put up his crib and move around the room. He did great!!
He was so proud of himself. He was just precious in the morning when he realized he made it through the night. Praying this is what will happen every night:)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Happy Birthday Jeff! Jeff turned the big 3-4 on Jan 13. We had a great day, apart from the electrician showing up to tell us he'd cut our electricity on Friday for a $3 unpaid bill from when we were in America that we didn't know about...gotta love life! Anyway, Daddy got to sleep in while Jack and I made his favorite blueberry coffee cake. Check out Jack stirring while riding his car...
 Then when Daddy woke up, Jack helped him open his presents...a shirt from Memaw and a Hungarian handmade wooden pipe from us. He doesn't smoke pipes, but was a cool find at the Hungarian store in town!
 The day before Jack made him a painting with his Daddy's favorite color
 Jack of course had to help Daddy blow out his birthday candles...
 After Jack's nap, we had a party at the houses for Jeff. The kids and staff helped decorate and we ejoyed ice cream together...
 Jack talking to GusGus through the window. Jack was telling him abou Mickey and Minnie Mouse!
When Jeff and Jack walked in the door, the kids started singing La Multi Ani, the birthday song. However, Jack thought it was for him! So fun!

 Singing the song...its tradition to stand in a line and least it is at the houses!
 Us with the kids who wanted to be in the picture:)
 Gabi, Cerasela, and Marianna...some of the house staff. Gabi even made a special trip to our home that morning to bring Jeff a delicious chocolate cake...thanks was so yummy!!
 Some of the girls were sweet to take pics with Jeff. This is with Marga.
 Jack eating a HUGE bite of ice cream while I'm not looking:) Jeff with Krisztina.

 Jeff with Daniela and Ibi. It was a great day! That night we can home and played with Jack. Then on Friday night we had a date. The movie showing in town (the only show in town) was "Life as we know it" and it was pretty good. Made us long to go home and hold Jack! Then we grabbed a bite to eat at the Dublin Pub down the street. We had a great time, Happy Birthday Babe! I love you!