Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, PRINCE OF PEACE. 
                                                                                                                                      ~Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Southwest Vacation - It's warm in Phoenix in July

Our time in Phoenix, despite the bummer of the AC going out in our van, was super fun. 

We stayed at a resort type hotel called Gainey Suites Resort in Scottsdale.  Chad's family was all there and a few of his older sisters in-laws were also staying.  They had an amazing breakfast buffet every morning and also a managers reception each evening that included the standard chips and popcorn as well as some type of light meal, like pizza, sliders, tacos, etc... Our rooms had full kitchens so the first night we went to the grocery store and stocked up on some lunch foods and pretty much had all our meals covered rather than going out to eat all the time. 

Each night after the younger kids were put to bed we had a "family meeting" (in the courtyard where all our rooms had patios to) to decide plans for the next day.  Not always productive but entertaining to say the least, this time together was so very precious and relaxing.

So the low-down on our days in AZ...

1) pool time... felt like a warm bath, but still refreshing compared to the hot temps.


2) 4th of July: We went to see fireworks set over some water.  We sat on a little strip of lawn and the automatic sprinklers went off while we were waiting so we moved back off the curb, ha ha.

3) Graduation:  Chad's sis and family! Congrats to them :) We had a big party that evening at a beautiful home of a friend of theirs, sadly I took zero pictures that night.  (boo on me)
 4) Where Chad spent most of his time and his consolation prize ;)

5) The fastest family picture taking session EVER... (maybe we should always plan family pics when it is 110 out and half the family is needing to leave for a baseball game)


We had such a fantastic time there and look forward to visiting again sometime!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Road Trip 2013 - a rather warmish day

Day three of our road trip brought us to our destination.  First we made one more "touristy" stop at the Four Corners Monument. 

Out in the middle of the dessert, nothing else around it for miles and miles.  It was a quick stop, most of the vendors were not even there yet and we weren't there to shop anyway.  Just a quick photo op and we were on the road again.

strike a pose!
Later in the day the real excitement began.  Our AC in the van wasn't keeping up and we figured it was just too hot out.  Part way through the Navajo Reservation we heard a "pop" pulled over and saw a tube hanging down under the van.  (yikes)  Other than the AC not working inside the van everything else seemed fine and since we were no where near any towns we just decided to keep going.  111 degrees and we have our windows wide open trying to keep somewhat cool.  We had some relief when we went up into the mountains around Flagstaff and the temps dropped into the 80's.  By the time we arrived in Phoenix though the temps were back up to the 110's and the girls were all pretty lethargic and red faced.  They were troopers though and never once complained.  Driving through Phoenix with our windows wide open I am sure people thought we were quite silly or maybe just dumb tourists from Iowa?  ha ha.  Oh well.  We arrived at our hotel and basked in the AC of our room... ahhh. 

Next up: the hotel, 4th of July, Graduation, and the quickest family picture taking session ever :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Southwest Vacation - Road Trip Day 2

We left the KOA after a good night of sleep pretty early in the morning.  Set the GPS on Chad's phone for Mesa Verde National Park, and off we went.  The GPS was not liking the route we had chosen and for hours it kept telling us to turn around.  SO annoying, ha ha. We drove the southern part of the Rockies which was a beautiful drive!  GPS doesn't know what it is missing ;)

In the mid-afternoon we arrived at Mesa Verde.  The cliff dwelling ruins were awesome and the girls did great with hiking.  We witnessed a thunderstorm roll through and a lightening strike started a fire.  So we watched as helicopters and emergency crews responded to put it out.  Exciting!

PICS from day 2:


love this picture of her!
this is the ruin that we hiked down to

inside one of the circular rooms that is thought to be used for religious purposes

the thunderstorm coming through
the fire

Playing Go Fish at the hotel in Cortez, CO.  After eating at a awesome Denny's that looked like an airstream trailer :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Southwest Road Trip - 2013

Okey dokey, here we go. 

This summer we went on a fantastic road trip to Phoenix, AZ to visit Chad's sister and family.  She graduated from med school and is officially a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.  SO awesome!  So VERY proud of her.

We left at night again since that worked so fantastically last summer and also scheduled our first stop at a KOA with deluxe cabins.   Again I sing the praises of KOA's deluxe cabins.  We stayed in Pueblo South, Colorado.  We over anticipated possible stops and hiccups so we ended up near our destination by early morning already.  This led us to stop for breakfast at the Garden of the Gods (rather than a parking lot of a truck stop... WAY better choice!!!)  It was so peaceful and gorgeous there.  Lots of birds singing their praises for a new day.  We loved spending some time there exploring.

our eldest is taking notes?? or something. and dd #2 is into photo bombing these days.
After we got our fill we went to KOA and true to our experience with KOA's have fantastic customer service they let us in our cabin waaaayyy before check-in time.  We had the whole day for Chad to sleep (since he was the rock star driver and drove the entire night) and for the girls and I to enjoy the playground and pool.  We even tried a game of mini-golf.  God smiled down on us and made it start raining so what would have been the longest game known to man was cut short.  (side note: 3 and 5 year olds do not exactly possess mini-golfing skills.  They cheat.  A lot.)

the cheater putting the ball in the hole with her hands

mom showing how it's done ;)

A great start to our trip.  Stay tuned for Day 2 (and NO I promise I will not have a post for each and every day...)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Summer Stuff

Blogging about summer after our first snowfall warms me up a bit! 

Here's a few things from the summer starting with the "beginning" which would be the last day of school!

Yep.  They are excited!

The first bit of summer was kinda cold and rainy but by mid-June we had our pool pass and were using it as much as possible.  Sadly I took zero pictures at the pool this summer.  I thoroughly enjoy these precious years where the kids enjoy the local pool.

I also hauled the slip-n-slide out to teach the younger half of the family the joy of sliding down a strip of wet plastic.

Miss J loved it.  Miss Baby was more content to sit in a towel by mom in the shade.


We also discovered that a stray cat had kittens and were living in the neighbors backyard storage shed.  We enjoyed watching them play and grow bigger and braver each week.

AND at the end of June: A road trip to Phoenix, AZ.

So that will be next up on the blog.  The Arizona Road Trip Travel Log.  I know you are all so excited!  Ha Ha. 

Until next time....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Supposedly a weed, my girls continually show me the beauty of these flowers each spring as they present me with large bouquets of golden yellow with joy in their little faces.

I love them, my girls, the dandelion bouquets they bring me, as well as the subtle reminder to look for beauty in everything, the ordinary, and things that I might consider "weeds" in my life. 


Welcome children of the Spring,
In your garbs of green and gold,
Lifting up your sun-crowned heads
On the verdant plain and wold.

As a bright and joyous troop
From the breast of earth ye came
Fair and lovely are your cheeks,
With sun-kisses all aflame.

In the dusty streets and lanes,
Where the lowly children play,
There as gentle friends ye smile,
Making brighter life's highway

Dewdrops and the morning sun,
Weave your garments fair and bright,
And we welcome you to-day
As the children of the light.

Children of the earth and sun.
We are slow to understand
All the richness of the gifts
Flowing from our Father's hand.

Were our vision clearer far,
In this sin-dimmed world of ours,
Would we not more thankful be
For the love that sends us flowers?

Welcome, early visitants,
With your sun-crowned golden hair,
With your message to our hearts
Of our Father's loving care.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to Blogging: Graduations

Besides the long awaited birthday for Miss J, the month of May included a few other exciting things.

My nearby sister's oldest son graduated from high school... most of my family was around to celebrate his awesomeness (cause he is truly awesome, he won the citizenship award and made us all teary when he did cause he is such an awesome guy.  awe. some.)

Mr Awesome, himself
 We also got to meet my oldest nephew's fiance' for the first time.   She's a keeper.  My girls LOVED her and she did crafts with them, so she's IN.

newest addition to the fam would be the dark haired beauty on the end.  (the light haired beauty on the other end is also my niece, equally loved and adored by my girls)  also pictured: Mr. American Eagle is my oldest nephew and my proud as a peacock mother :)

my mom and sisters (missing 1... Hi Renee!)
Another big graduation:  MISS J!  She had a darling little graduation program where they sang and then after took turns getting their diploma and a special book.


Happy Day!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to school = Back to blogging

Oh hey there blog!  Sorry I have neglected you.  The sun came out and Spring and Summer happened and I fully enjoyed them leaving you in the dust.  So I will update you today, now that the kiddos are back in school (all except the baby!)

Lets begin with Miss J's b-day in the first week of May. 

OH. MY. 

The anticipation of this day nearly made this mama crazy.  Miss J had been planning her special day since the middle of February (right after my birthday).  I am not exaggerating in the least little bit when I say that she talked DAILY about her birthday from February 15 on.  She had a million plans and ideas.  Countless friends and family (near and far) were going to be invited to her "party."  She had numerous "theme" ideas and wanted all sorts of things for decoration.  She also began saving her own art for decoration. (read: big stack of paper and crafts piled up)  It all started out really cute, however by mid April I was as excited for her big day as she was just so that we could be done planning it.  Her expectations for the day were sky high and it left me so stressed out that I was going to permanently scar her with disappointment when they were not even remotely met. 

So the big day came:

I decorated the night before when she went to bed, however she wanted to add MORE of course.

She's excited! (Note the grand breakfast of bread and butter.  Yep.  I win the "Best Mom Award" on that one.  Not.)
Her decorations.  I strung up all her piled up artwork with some balloons.
After Preschool she had a friend over (and little sisters too) 
Later we had family over for dinner and presents.  She picked Dutch meatball soup for her birthday dinner.
Phew... that day is done and she seemed to enjoy it. I did!

My pesky sister made sure to point out to her that night that her "Golden Birthday" will be next year.  She has mentioned that several times already pointing out that it will have to be "extra" special. Heeeeere we go again.