Monday, March 31, 2014

The D.R.

In January, Chad and I were privileged to go with a group from our church on a SALT (Service and Learning Team) trip to the Dominican Republic. 

Rather than reinventing the wheel I am going to add a link to the blog that we wrote while we were there: Click here to see that blog

This is the video presentation we showed in our church when we returned.  I really love the song the video is set to.

In another post I will add some of my favorite pictures and some more details about the trip as well.... stay tuned :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fast Forward

Well I wrapped up our vacation and since we are putting serious thought and planning into our next vacation for this summer I think it is high time we fast forward to the current date.

So allow me to bring this blog up to speed, fast forward style...

My oldest nephew got married in July and Emery was the flower girl:

Before school started we went to the Omaha Zoo (LOVE this zoo!):

School started (5th, 3rd and TK):

She had a birthday and turned 11 (going on 21): 
Skyping with Grandma D - she had a slumber party with friends the next weekend
She had "Crazy Hair Day" at school:

In October my mom came to visit:
she taught Riley to sew

Halloween happened and we went to the community party put on by a local church:

Pirates in 2 sizes, a busy bee, and Snow White
Miss J lost her first tooth on November 15th:

Miss Shannon-bananon turned 9 (and she got more of her favorite things in the world: Lego Friends and Nintendo DS games):

She turned 4:
note we are Skyping with Grandma D again... Emery got her quilt this year :)

She also got a glitter tulle tutu from my sis... it bedazzled our entire house for weeks (thanks Ria)
 Christmas happened:

At the end of January, Chad and I went to the Dominican Republic on a SALT (Service and Learning Team) trip with a group from our church:  (I will back up and do a post on this trip -or maybe a couple posts, but to summarize: it was an AWESOME awesome trip):

Valentines Day happened:

Two girlies brought Minions (including a banana one for a couple friends that are on the GAPS diet)
she brought bubbles
We have had a loooonnngggg COLD winter without much snow but these two managed a snowman all on their own:

Riley has become quite the knitter, including starting a "Knitting Club" with her friends at school.  She also taught Jordyn to knit (adorableness):

In February my Mom came to visit (she has been coming whenever Chad has to go to Michigan for seminary... SO nice!):

And lastly, we said a tearful goodbye to our dog, Norman on March 12: 
It was heartbreaking to say goodbye, but it was time as he was in pain and no longer himself. RIP buddy, you were such a good dog! 
SO that's it.  For sure the longest post on this blog, (as it should be since it covered about 6 months) but we are all caught up! YAY!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dillon, CO our last full day of vacation

As I said in the last post, it was dark and late when we arrived.  However, we woke up to a beautiful sight:

Our hotel was across the street from a gorgeous lake.

The town had a really cool park (since the water was waaaay too cold to swim in!) that kept the girls busy so Chad could do some homework in the room in peace and quiet.

We spent most of the day in Dillon. We picked up some roasted chicken and potatoes and had a picnic on the beach.  I think we could have spent a week here! In the mid-afternoon we left for home. 

A few things about our drive home: 
1)  Miss Baby had another emergency bathroom stop and this time was not blessed with a port-o-potty from Heaven. 
2)  We tried out another Denny's in Nebraska for dinner and had an unfortunate experience that ended up with a free dinner for us.  Kudo's to the young manager who valued customer service and took responsibilty for his inept staff.  That experience put us home 2 hours later than we had hoped but we made it home in the middle of the night (3 or 4ish maybe?  I seemed to have blocked that from my memory, ha ha.) 
3)  This was a FANTASTIC road trip and as we were nearing home we were already planning our next one for summer of 2014. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Arches (not of the golden fast food variety that we usually see)

After bidding the Grand Canyon farewell.  (with many backward glances) We drove on to Arches National Park. 

Since it was summer, the season of road construction, the road we drove through Utah was mostly two lane with no shoulders. 

In a particularly unpopulated stretch Miss Baby announced she needed to use the bathroom.  NOW.  Or more like 5 miles ago.  As moms we can gauge how desperate the situation is and I assure you this mom's radar was reading "beyond desperate, must stop immediately or clean up procedures will need to be activated."

Telling Chad we had to pull over "right now."  He asked me to look around and give him a suggestion as to where that could happen.  Hmmm, I see his point.  No shoulder on either side with construction markers keeping us in our one lane.  So he drove on and at the first intersecting gravel road he turned onto it and pulled over. 

A light shone down from Heaven and angels sang...

Yes, seriously.  A port-a-potty all fresh and clean (really, it was).  We proclaimed Miss Baby to lead a charmed life (at least in that moment).   Back on the road without any lessons in the art of "squatting."  Phew.

The Arches were very cool and well worth the stop.  Things to note:  We got there in the heat of the day (104 degrees) and after one short hike to see an arch from a distance and the kids were pretty much done. 
"Look girls, waaay in the distance, see the arch? Yep that's what you just hiked up here in the blazing sun to see"

A close up of the arch we were looking at, called the Delicate Arch and is the most famous of all the arches in the park.  Another side note:  my camera could not capture the true "redness" of the rocks surrounding us, bummer!  It was so pretty against the blue sky.
Taking a little breather.  A little red-faced!

A very nice man took our family picture, despite just getting done with the same hike we did and he was equally red-faced and sweaty!  Thanks man!
These two took one more hike with their mom while Chad waited back in the AC of the van with the two other girls who were overheated from the first hike. (side note: he would have LOVED to have taken the hike but allowed me to go instead, what a guy!)

On top of the world! :)
 After spending a couple hours here (and only seeing about a quarter of the park) we had to keep moving if we were going to make it to our hotel reservation for the night in Dillon, CO.

Onward and upward! But what a beautiful drive into the Rockies.  We were wishing we had daylight the whole way but by the time we got to Vail, CO it was dark.  A little further east was our destination and we crashed once we got to our hotel. 

Next up:  a day in the Rockies and our last day of vacation.  sigh....

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Life is GRAND at the Grand Canyon

The trip home from Phoenix included some more sight seeing.  Shocking, I know.

With a brand new AC unit in our van we left after lunch and headed to the Grand Canyon. 


Upon first sight it literally took my breath away.  Truly awesome and no picture or words can ever capture it.  It is an image that has etched itself in my mind (and I hope my kids' too!) that I pray I never forget. 

We took A LOT of pictures and not a single one comes close to portraying this amazing sight.  SO I will share a couple of my faves of the family and kids and call it a day ;)

Yes, we put a "leash" on Miss Baby (don't judge).  No guard rails in most areas made us a little nervous that our rambunctious 3 year old might slip over the edge.  She thought the monkey "backpack" was pretty cool and wore it willingly and gave us a little peace of mind.
Riding the shuttle between stops on the trail around the rim.  Amazing how many different languages we heard people speaking around us.

Walking back to our room, everyone was pretty tired, miss baby even fell asleep on the last stretch of the shuttle ride so Chad got the lucky job of carrying her back. 
Our room in one of the lodges.  Pretty basic but it was clean and it was nice to stay right in the park. 
 We went to back into the nearest town for dinner and saw an elk on the way out of the park.  Then it was early to bed.  A long day of travel was the plan for the next day and we wanted to get an early start.  The room didn't have AC and we figured it would cool down quickly once the sun went down.  We were wrong.  It was hot and stuffy with our family of 6 packed into a little space.  Not much sleep, but it motivated us to get going right away in the morning. 

We stopped along the rim on the way out again before heading back through the Navajo Reservation to Utah. 

I LOVE this shot of the eldest taking a selfie, ha ha.
Parting shots of the Canyon.  What a beautiful morning!
Praise God whose magnificent creation causes us to stop in wonder and awe at His almighty power.   

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!