Monday, July 16, 2018

Getting the kids to 12,000 feet @ Rocky Mountain National Park

Last week we got to go camping for a few nights near Rocky Mountain National Park and it was amazing! It was so good to get away for a bit and be in midst of some really big (and totally stunning) mountains. I'm thinking this will be a two part post as there were just too many pretty places!

Camping with little kids can have some challenging moments, but overall Luke & Mabel did great and seemed to love every moment. Our campground had no running water and it's been a while since I went without a shower for days on end...but even that was sort of nice. It made it feel like "real" camping.  It was our first time going camping with the subaru -- definitely a very tight squeeze getting the four of us, plus camping gear, clothing, food and water for all of us for several days into the compact space, but Jason was his usual packing genius and got it all in! Whew!

We got to spend our first night in Denver visiting with our friend, William, from Peace Corps and his wife Laura, which was fantastic! We hadn't seen William since Luke was about 6 weeks old!
With William, then and now -- a lot can change in 5 years!















First day at Olive Ridge Campground - getting the tent set up with wonderful helpers :)















































Day two: Our first stop & hike at Lily Lake



























































Driving the spectacular Old Fall River Road to the Alpine Visitor Center


















Hiking up the Alpine Ridge Trail


















































Ending the day with S'mores, of course!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Seeing friends and Nebraska one last time

With our friends, the Deeds Family moving back to Indiana, we got to make one last trip down to Valentine last month. It was a very lovely weekend. Full of a lot of fun intermingled with a lot of repressed sadness over their departure. With their new home being over 1000 miles away instead of just 200, we are not expecting to get to see each other for a while and we'll probably not be visiting Nebraska anymore either :)

We will really, really miss our friends and have been feeling so thankful for the sweet time we had to live near them once again. It's been about four years since we said goodbye to them in Guatemala ... we're looking forward to see if God will place us nearby each other again in four years.
Starting a hike across the 'Cowboy Bridge' on the Cowboy Trail


Fun, hanging out time together








Smith Falls, the highest waterfall in Nebraska!







Thursday, June 7, 2018

Cheering for our Marathon Man

Jason has been interested in doing a trail marathon for some time. So in March when I saw an advertisement for one here in the Black Hills I encouraged him to sign up if he was interested. The timing wasn't great for marathon training given the l-o-n-g winter, moving into our latest project house, our 10-day trip West and also hosting visitors ... but, it was the right run for Jason so he signed up.

Last Sunday he got to run through 26.2 miles of Black Hills beauty while the kids & I had a lot of fun stopping every few miles to cheer for him along the way! Definitely a different experience than the last marathon he ran (in China!)

So proud of this guy for even considering a marathon and for doing it!










































































Monday, June 4, 2018

Finding Springtime Fun in the Black Hills

After my parents returned to California last week the house felt very quiet (& a bit lonely). Not to mention, the dishes are not getting done nearly as quickly :)

We had a really fun visit with them and were overwhelmed by their gererousity in working on house projects with us as well as taking our family out to eat a number of times, purchasing some needed home improvement items and buying groceries for us. They also babysat so Jason & I could go on our first kid-free date in over a year (we got to celebrate our 11 year anniversary on the actual day!)

My parents perfectly timed their visit for the start of Springtime here in Rapid City (in the middle of MAY!) and we all got to enjoy the beauty of the season.

Even with my Mom's walking boot we did quite a bit of exploring in the region: visiting the DC Booth Fish Hatchery in Spearfish on opening day, stopping at the geographic 'Center of the Nation', wandering the beautiful grounds at the 'Chapel in the Hills', checking out some awesome aircraft at the Air & Space Museum and picnicing at the beautiful Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park.









































































































































Sunday, May 27, 2018

Putting my parents to work

Although my parents are here on "vacation," they have been keeping very busy. 

My Dad doesn't like to sit still for too long, so I'd been keeping a list of random fix-it type things for him to work on during their visit ... just in case :) Lucky for us, most of that list has now been completed. My Dad has been great! Installing a new light fixture, putting up blinds, creating closet shelving and a host of other random things.

Meanwhile, my Mom (even while needing to wear a walking boot at all times) has done a bunch of cooking and the washing up after every.single.meal; along with creating a rhubarb/strawberry pie masterpiece with the kids & making a batch of my most favorite potato salad. She also bought us some nice plants and put her landscaping consultant hat on; giving us a great start to our patio area. Hurray!

Both of them have taken turns playing and reading to the kids as well. A very full "vacation." We've been so glad to have had them here to help as well as make fun memories together.



















































































Having a break from all that work and enjoying a treat at Jerry's Donuts!



















Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Enjoying our first S. Dakota lake day ---- with my parents!

My parents arrived last week ... after their flight was delayed overnight (ugh) in Denver. Their arrival brought with it our first actual warm weather. After allowing them to recover for a bit, it seemed right to head to the lake and enjoy some SUNSHINE (finally)!!!!

I picked Sheridan Lake to try out for our first lake/beach day ... it was the closest lake with a sand beach to our house. The beach was fairly small, but seeing as we were the only ones there it was perfect :)


Mabel "helping" Papa at the airport.

Recovering from travel with our lilacs which were in full bloom and smelling a-mazing!