Tag Archives: usa

Blueberry Girl

Today was a beautiful day here in Ohio!! We took the girls outside after their naps this afternoon and walked in the grass, played with the hose on the driveway, and rode bikes. It was so fun! When we came back in Charlotte was hungry and I had to get dinner ready, so… I had to give her a snack to hold her over. She got blueberries.

This girl LOVES blueberries!! Since we got back here to America, she has enjoyed them as a snack, and if she sees them will refuse all other food until she is given blueberries. Now that she is understanding more words, all I have to say is, “Charlotte, do you want some blueberries?” and she heads straight for the fridge. Her favorite spot to eat them is from a bowl on the floor. Here is my cute little blueberry girl!



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Ice Cream! (at the Whippy Dip)

So in Loveland, where Kara’s parent’s live, there’s this great little ice cream place called the Loveland Dairy Whip, but everyone just calls it the Whippy Dip.  This is where Elizabeth had her first ice cream a few years ago, so we thought Charlotte should enjoy some too.  Some of Kara’s relatives were visiting also, so we had a great time letting the kids make a mess.

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Charlotte’s First Birthday!

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My beautiful baby turned one yesterday! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone – seems like just a few weeks ago we were in Bali waiting and waiting and waiting (and waiting) for her to be born. We are so blessed to have Charlotte as part of our family. She is a spunky, determined, independent, fearless, snuggly and strong Mommy’s girl. The pediatrician yesterday commented on how healthy she was (80th percentile for height and weight) especially for being born overseas. That girl can eat!!

You see that look on her face? Those eyebrows are like that (the “I’m studying you” look) more often than not. She has a wonderful spirited personality and loves to laugh and smile, too. Especially with her big sister. Makes a mommy happy!

On Sunday the 26th, we had a family party for her at the park. I put together some food and we invited all the aunts and uncles that live in Houston to come. It was a little cooler than we had planned, but the kids still had a blast eating food and running around.

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My goofy little toddler…

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… and my silly big girl.

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The birthday girl with Grandma and Grandpa Menger.

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The three standing cousins (Emily was there too, but she’s not quite standing on her own yet, so she couldn’t quite keep up with the bigger ones). Elizabeth and Ryan are both playing harmonicas from Uncle Andy.


Charlotte had SO MUCH FUN on the swing with Grandpa. He got her going pretty fast and she loved it!

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Emily loved the swing too. Isn’t she adorable?  And Elizabeth and Ryan had a blast on the playground!

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Of course we did cupcakes…

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and she didn’t do too badly! Not too much of a mess, at least. She didn’t really eat that much of it. And then presents…

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A few more goofy cousin pictures.

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Thanks to all the family who came!! We are so blessed to have this time together. We really appreciate being here and having the opportunity to celebrate special days close to the people that we love. I know that all the family couldn’t make it, but some is better than none!

On Monday the 27th (Charlotte’s actual birthday), we took her to the doctor. She got 5 shots, a TB test, and a prick in her finger to test for anemia and lead. Poor baby! She was pretty much feely yucky and exhausted the rest of the day. We did try a cupcake again that night and giver her the presents from us. I only have one picture to share from that but I think it’s a good one. She got a little more into the cupcake this time.


Happy Birthday my sweet Charlotte Abigail!

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Lilly Family Photos

A few posts back, I put up pictures that we were able to take with the Menger family. We were also able to get pictures with the whole Lilly family since we were finally all together over Christmas. It was really really cold outside, so we just had a friend photographer come to the house and take pictures. They are really good! I will probably keep commenting to a minimum and just posts our favorites. Here you go – enjoy!

Charlotte w-Gpa & Gma w-preset    Elizabeth w-preset

Jenine and Elizabeth 3    Kara & Brittany for fun_

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Not all of them are serious… it’s hard to keep us from being goofy when we’re all together!

Love pictures with my girls!!

Kara and Charlotte  Kara and Elizabeth

And my other girls (Mom and Brittany). Dad too, but he’s not a girl.

Kara, Jenine, Brittany 2  Steve, Kara, Brittany-2

Here’s some pictures of just us Mengers:

Menger Family 2  Menger Family

And finally one of all of us together! Great pictures and great memories and great times!! Yay for fun with family.

Whole family

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Christmas Pics

It’s February. I know. But yes, I really am just now posting pictures from Christmas. I’m very sorry.

We did have a really fun Christmas. We were with my (Kara) whole family in Ohio and we (all of us) hadn’t been together for Christmas day in five years so this was really nice.


Merry Christmas from the Menger family!

We opened stockings in the morning…

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… and had great fun getting pictures of people like this:


Then there was a re-enactment of the Christmas story. Main characters: Elizabeth as Mary, Uncle Gary as Joseph, Panda Bear as Baby Jesus, and Daddy first as the wise man, and then as the Donkey. I know we were missing a few of the main characters, but the most important ones were there.

IMG_9107 (Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus)

IMG_9112 (The Wise Man bringing a gift to Baby Jesus)

IMG_9120 (Joseph leading Mary and Jesus on the donkey as they flee to Egypt)

Elizabeth came up with most of the story herself from us reading to her during the Christmas season. It was fun to see what made an impression and what she remembered!

Then came the picture-taking time in front of the tree before we got to open presents. Here are some of the better pictures that we got!

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And then it was present time!! I have a picture of us right before we started into the mayhem…


… but alas, we were too busy opening presents and enjoying being together for Christmas to remember to take any more pictures. Which I think is just a wonderful thing. The added bonus of the day was the Charlotte took her first steps while we were opening presents! She is walking all over the place quite independently now. Hard to slow that little one down!


One of the two cutest little presents I’ve ever gotten!

Merry Christmas! In February!

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Elizabeth’s 3rd Birthday

As soon as we got to Cincinnati in December, we celebrated Elizabeth’s 3rd Birthday. We had a fun and special day of pink, princesses, and playing. It was quiet and just us close family, but that’s exactly what this special little girl wanted on her special day – to just play! Here is the big girl sitting in her pretty dress with her presents.


Opening her presents. In the morning she got to open her presents from Mommy, Daddy, and Charlotte, and from Grandma and Grandpa Lilly, too. She got a princess sticker book, some “fancy” jewelry, a beautiful ballet dress…

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… a wallet, a tent…

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and a Cinderella carriage. Can you tell she is ALL GIRL??


Plus a few more presents that I didn’t get pictures of. Everything is either small or can be made small so that we can pack it and take it back to Indonesia.

Later after dinner she got a few more presents from Grandma and Grandpa Menger.


And then we had cake! Princess cake! Purple ice cream Princess cake!!

And the party hats were very important. All year long when we talked about her Birthday she asked, “can I have party hats, too??” So yes, we had party hats. We all had to wear them.


Happy 3rd Birthday to my precious princess! We love you so much, Elizabeth!

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Menger Family Photos

Menger (26 of 81)

We have had so much fun taking pictures with family while we’re back in America. Unfortunately the day we had scheduled to take pictures Charlotte was sick and the best we got from her was a pleasant face. No smiles because all she wanted to do was go to bed! But we still had fun and got pictures of all of Matt’s family together.

Here is Grandma and Grandpa with their four grandkids!

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You can tell here that Charlotte was not feeling well… snuggling with Grandma…

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Kim (the photographer) took great pictures. We were so happy with the results! Here’s more pictures, some posed and some candid. Enjoy!

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Elizabeth and Ryan dancing together. So sweet!

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This picture cracks me up… The two littlest ones were SO upset, and their older siblings were just trying to help them calm down, but clearly also wondering what on earth was going on. Poor babies!

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Menger (8 of 81)

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Last weekend we went to Wisconsin to visit my (Kara’s) grandparents and extended family there. It snowed the day before we got there, so all the snow was so fresh and clean!!


My Mom and Dad took Elizabeth out while I got Charlotte ready and Matt took pictures.

She had been waiting and waiting for there to be enough snow to make Frosty…


… but the snow was so powdery that it wouldn’t roll into a ball. So we made a short, fat, cone-shaped snow man! My uncle called it a snow-Buddha.

Charlotte wasn’t so sure about the cold wet stuff.


And after she took a face-plant straight into the snow, she didn’t want to have anything to do with it. It was a bit tragic!!

It sure was fun for me to relive a lot of my childhood winter memories playing in the snow in a crisp Wisconsin winter. And fun to see my kids discovering snow!

Here’s a picture of us with my grandparents. It was so fun to see everyone while we were there!


Here is a video of Elizabeth when she first went walking in the snow. She takes a bit of a fall, but recovers nicely Smile. I know that this winter is now unseasonably warm for most people, but happy January to you all!


p.s. – I am like three months back-logged on blog posts. Goal is to start catching up, so look for more soon! Also, a recipe challenge follow-up this week.

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American Food!

Recently we were talking to Kara’s parents about the kinds of things we do/do not want to eat while we’re back home.  We made a list for them so they can think about meals and shop for groceries, and we think it’s humorous enough to share.  Here’s the list in modified form; I added in some explanations for things you might not know about.  If its in the “want to eat” list, you can be pretty sure we can’t get it (or it’s not very good) where we live.

Things we WANT to eat:

  • good, fatty, beef! (we usually have to add oil to our ground beef here, instead of draining it, and it still is just so-so)
  • sausage!
  • lunchmeat and sandwiches
  • grilled food
  • Mexican, Tex-Mex, or anything in between
  • salads (i.e. fresh greens that we didn’t have to cook to kill all the nasties)
  • stone fruit
  • berries
  • bacon
  • chips and salsa
  • sausage
  • brussels sprouts
  • broccoli (the kind without worms living in it)
  • asparagus
  • beef
  • basmati rice
  • salmon
  • cheese
  • pretzels
  • bacon
  • hamburgers and hot dogs
  • cheese: anything but mozzarella (the only kind we can get here)
  • yogurt we didn’t have to make ourselves from powdered milk
  • goldfish crackers
  • beef
  • good chocolate
  • ice cream
  • Chinese takeout
  • delivery pizza (Papa Johns)
  • breakfast cereal:
    • grapenuts
    • Cheerios
    • Kix
    • Frosted Mini-Wheats
    • Life
    • etc.
  • cheese
  • sausage
  • beef
  • mushrooms
  • avocados

Things we DON’T want to eat:

  • MSG
  • white bread
  • anything soaked in PK (Potassium Permanganate, we soak all fresh produce in it to kill the nasties)
  • dog (yes I’m serious)
  • bugs, worms, and parasites
  • tikus (rat) or any other mystery meat
  • Cha-Chas (bad imitation M&Ms)
  • food with salmonella in it
  • bat (yes I’m serious)
  • rotten and/or greenish meat
  • chicken head, skin, cartilage, liver, kidneys, heart, or any other innards

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Visiting Racine, WI.

Last weekend we visited Racine, Wisconsin, the town where I (Kara) grew up. We drove up on Saturday and drove back on Monday, so our family has gotten used to lots of time in the car. Praise the Lord that we don’t have any more big road trips coming up – Elizabeth is getting tired of her car seat! Lots of my family lives in Racine, and it was really fun to see everyone again! We played games and ate lots and lots of food. Here is a picture of everyone that was there that weekend (minus my cousin Derek’s wife Kathryn, who had to work). It was a big and rowdy bunch!

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One of the main reasons that we went up there for that weekend was for the dedication of the complete Hatam Bible that my grandparents have been translating for the past 43 years.  Calvary Memorial Church in Racine has been supporting the translation alongside my grandparents and the national translation team, and last weekend the whole church celebrated the completed work.  The morning service told the story of the dedication in Minyambo, Papua, Indonesia, followed by a Hatam-style feast: pork, rice, sweet potatoes, and spinach.  I realize how amazing it is to be a part of this family, and what a legacy God has given me with a family that has a history of serving the Lord in so many different ways. Praise God that the Hatamers now have His Word in their own language that they can read, understand, and live!

This is a picture of my grandparents, Dick and Char Griffiths, with Pastor Nathan James and the head of the missions committee at Calvary Memorial Church. The book that is held up is the ENTIRE Bible in Hatam!

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