Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Snow Day

For the first time in several years, a good snow fell and stuck. We had about 4-6 inches and all of the neighborhood kids loved it. They played outside for hours. We also did some indoor crafts. Asher and Josiah made robots and Isabel designed a Shrinky Dink bracelet. Later, because I have not been feeling well, Isabel made me a homemade carrot soup. It was delicious. I love our kids, they are such a blessing.  

Isabel's First Protocol Event

For 7 years I have been waiting for the day that Isabel could attend the Protocol event at our co-op. Unlike traditional school dances, Protocol is a chance for the kids to learn how to act appropriately at events. They girls are paired with a boy and the boy is supposed to take care of the lady, hold doors open, fill drinks, pull chairs out, etc. The theme this year was a country hoe-down. The kids had a blast!

Jason bought Isabel flowers. 

All dressed up

These kids have been friends since they were 5. 

Up to no good! 

Like Father, Like Daughter

Dancing the Night Away

History Connections

We have been learning about World War I during our history studies both at school and at co-op. The Museum of Flight in Seattle has an amazing exhibit of the World War I and World War II planes. And thankfully all of the museums in Seattle are free on the first Thursday of the month! The kids loved seeing the planes and the interactive exhibits. They could "fly" a plane and they got to experience a life sized trench. By far their favorite part was something completely unrelated to history and totally related to fun. Isabel and Josiah used their money to go on a flight simulator. They talked about it for days afterwards and are looking forward to going back again next month. 

Josiah and the first military plane.

Asher "flying" his plane. 

Josiah the war hero. 

Isabel the flight simulator hero. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Day of Rest

After 5 days of long hours of driving, we needed a rest. And once we got into Flagstaff, we knew we had arrived at just the place. It is a beautiful oasis of beauty nestled between miles of dry flatlands and the Grand Canyon. Our hotel had a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.

After a delicious lunch at Whole Foods...

We decided to hit up some parks and local hiking trails. We found a beautiful park under the mountains, and played in the woods and climbed rocks for a good long while. It felt great to get fresh air.

After that we went a for a walk in the historic downtown on Route 66 and had to visit a candy shop.

Later we rested at our hotel, and then headed out to the Flagstaff Aquaplex where the kids did some rock climbing and swam in their beautiful pool with amazing waterslides.

It was a wonderful day and I am thankful to God for putting it on my heart to take a day off, even if it meant only having one day at the actual canyon.

Honestly, one of the reasons we had to rest is because my health is not very predictable. The driving left me exhausted, dizzy, and nauseous. I used to get very down on myself on my ability to not push harder, but I started reading this blog http://aiplifestyle.com/ about my autoimmune disorder and it completely changed my perspective and has help me immensely. She teaches a lot about loving the illness and learning to see what the illness is trying to teach you. I have learned to really listen to God and my body this way. I know that God has place my autoimmune disorder upon me and has much to teach me through it if only I will let Him. So when I learn to listen, pray, embrace, love and live with thankfulness, I do so much better than when I fear, run away, hide, and live with anger.

So with that, we had our day of rest. Off to the Grand Canyon today!  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Catching Up

We arrived in Texas on Saturday, though it seems like a month ago now! We headed right towards San Antonio, worried about upcoming weather. It's a good thing we did because right outside the city it started pouring. I pulled over into a gas station because I couldn't see. It rained maybe 5 minutes and then there was a break so I wanted to get to our hotel before we started pouring again. But on the way to the interstate, water started literally coming out from the ground, not from pipes or other drainage or water sources, but out of the ground and filling the streets. I have never seen anything like it. Thankfully, we got on the interstate and got through the water, but it was terrifying. I am praying for all the families that were caught in flash floods this weekend. It really just comes out of nowhere. 

We got to our hotel, the beautiful Drury Plaza on the Riverwalk. 

Our friends Pete and Nancy recommended it. It was absolutely beautiful and the kids were in awe! It is an old bank building from the 1800's converted recently into a breathtaking hotel. After "social hour", a time when you can have a delicious free dinner in the grand lobby, we headed down to the Riverwalk. 

It was quite crowded because of the holiday weekend, but it was really unique. We walked along the many underground streets along the river for about an hour and then headed back to the hotel to swim. The pool was a in a beautiful glass walled room, which was beautiful, even with the lightning, until I saw that we were issued a tornado warning and rotation had been detected in the area. We went back to our room and then spent about 30 minutes in the snack room in the middle of the hotel. It stormed all night like I have never seen (except maybe in a hurricane), but we were safe. Unfortunately, the storm has continued to cause devastation and many others can not say the same. We are praying for those families.

The next morning we headed to the Alamo. It is right in the middle of the city. I learned so much about the importance of the Alamo and why it has stood as a symbol of freedom and liberty. 

(and there was not a basement for those of you who get this joke and might be wondering.)  

After the Alamo, we headed to El Paso. Thankfully, we were west of the weather now and that was an easy drive. Nothing much to report there except it was a lot more like Texas there than in San Antonio. If you do go to San Antonio, just know it is much more like New York City. If you want a real Texas experience,go to El Paso. We could see the border. It was interesting to see the difference from one side of the interstate compared to the other. 

Then yesterday we headed to Flagstaff. It was a beautiful 8 hour drive. I have never experienced so many changed of geography in one day. 

We went from desert like conditions, to red rock, to flatlands, to lush forests, to more flatlands, to huge mountains, to more flatlands to more red rock and then to Flagstaff which is this beautiful lush city in the mountains. I could easily live here. Our hotel is overlooking a beautiful snow covered mountain. There is cute historic downtown on Route 66. 

Last night we went to the Lowell Observatory and saw Jupiter and 4 of its moons, Saturn's rings, and the moon up extremely close. We could see all of its craters and the Sea of Tranquility where Apollo 11 landed. But today we have just decided to stay in Flagstaff. We need a break from driving today. It's time to rest!   

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Change of Plans

Have you ever been in a situation in your life where you had been planning do to one thing, or you envisioned your life going in a certain direction, and then at the last minute you decide to do something completely different? Have you ever agonized over this decision, wondering if you made the right choice? Have you ever been frustrated or even angry about the outcome?

But have you ever gotten to the end of that decision and seen that through it all, it turned out for the best?

That is what happened to us today, but it pretty much sums up all of the events of the last year as well.

Tonight we arrived in Lafayette, Louisiana. Originally, our plan had been to swing up to north Louisiana and see my grandmother who has Alzheimer's Disease. But after yesterday, we realized that a 5 hour detour probably wasn't feasible, and then when we saw bad storms coming that might slow us down, we decided just to stay south on the more direct route.

Before we came to this decision, I mulled over it for hours, and I had trouble sleeping. I kept myself up wondering if this was the right thing to do. I did the same thing when we made the decision to move to Florida, only on a much grander and slightly more dramatic (think day long crying spells) scale.

We finally made the decision and went for it, but things were not exactly smooth sailing. First of all, there were the bridges. There are so many bridges in the south! And they go on...forever! You can't even see land on the other side. And of all the things to be afraid of, this is number one for me.

I literally grit my teeth, tighten my grip around the steering wheel, and I can't talk with anyone around me as I go across. Can you imagine doing this for nearly 10 minutes at time? As if holding the wheel tighter would somehow protect me from falling off the bridge!

Then there was the tunnel through Mobile!

I have never been through a tunnel that went deeper and deeper into the ground as you went into it. The whole time I was just begging to get out and was so excited when we finally saw the light of day. 

My response to fear on this trip is no different to how I responded to the fear of moving to Florida. I try to control every situation and I am begging and can't wait to get out of it. My mom and I were talking on the trip and (because fear is a serious generational sin in our family) were trying to imagine what life would be like if fear wasn't a part of our lives. And I think one of the most interesting parts of our conversation is that there is part of us that likes to hold onto fear, as if being afraid protects us from making bad decisions, as if it keeps us in control, as if....what else can you say to that except...AS IF! 

I hope to come to a place where I can truly trust God and loosen my grip and enjoy the ride of new situations instead of begging to get out. 

The other major detour we hit was traffic! Earlier in the trip we had to decide if we would drive through New Orleans or go up and around it. We saw a traffic sign describing an accident on the upper route and decided to go through New Orleans...at Rush Hour! This was a big mistake and overall probably cost us about two hours. And the whole time I am whining over why I took this route instead of the other. It's like I somehow get mad enough at myself over the decision I made, it atones for not making the "right" decision. 

This was daily life for me during the first (well most) of my time in Florida. Why oh why can I not just trust God and that He really is guiding my steps and He has purpose in it, no matter how badly I mess up!

Because when I finally do trust God I can see that He is bringing me to places far more amazing that I can possibly imagine. 

Like this one. 

Driving through New Orleans we saw a cemetery from 1840. It went on for miles and miles and was full of the most elaborate and beautiful above ground graves. It was one of the most hauntingly beautiful things I have ever seen. I love history and stories and I wish I could know the story of each person there. 

I imagine that they have a story much like yours and mine. One that is full of adventure, decisions, fear, pain, hope, joy, and love. I imagine that at some point to get where they are, they had to make a decision and face much unknown. 

I just hope that as I face those things in the future, God is teaching me to that with much more trust and hope in Him and His plan. 

Because as my children put it when we got to our beautiful hotel, "This is the best hotel we have even been to! Thank you Mommy!" 

I know I will be saying that to God when I finally lay down to rest and see Him, "This is the best place I have ever been to! Thank you Daddy!" 

Friday, May 22, 2015


We arrived in Tallahassee tonight. When you leave for a road trip sometimes it's hard to know just how long hours in the car will feel on your body. That is what happened to us. A few hours felt like days, and not to the kids but to the adults!

As we drove to through the dark, I kept telling myself, I can do this, I have the strength, God will help me. Then "you" almost run into a curb (true story) and realize that it's probably time to stop. Sometimes God is saying it takes strength to say I need to rest. I actually can not go on any farther. And I don't know about you, but for me it sometimes takes more strength to stop than keep going. And that strength can only come from Christ.

Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning 

But when you wake up with this much joy, you know it's time to get going again. So back to the road we go!