Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November visitors & fun!

We've been thankful that in the midst of our move we've had a small list of things to look forward to which has helped to curb our home/friend-sickness a bit. After my parents visit, we had Jason's Mom come through (twice!) on her way to/from Minnesota, we had our own trip to Nebraska, then Halloween, plus a visit from Idaho friends and now this week looking forward to Thanksgiving.

Marilyn was here only for a short visit, but of course we managed to do a lot during out time together.  We hiked around Sylvan Lake (in the snow!) & visited Custer State Park. We tried to see Mt. Rushmore, but it was completely covered in clouds/fog...but we DID get to see some mountain goats instead :)


Then it was time for a neighborhood walk, a story with the kids and saying our goodbyes --

In between Marilyn's visits, we celebrated a sweet Halloween with the kids. A morning trick-or-treat at the library and an evening one in the nearby historic district -- West Blvd. We were very thankful to have hand-me-down costumes from the kids cousins!

Then just last week we had some special friends stop in for dinner on their road trip to Minnesota/Iowa. I have been thankful for Gretchen ever since she popped in on me at our Priest Lake trailer 2 1/2 years ago to say hi. Her son Connor is Luke's age and we had a great summer with them at Priest Lake. With her parents living in Moscow, we got to continue to see them on a regular basis; and lucky for us they also have family to the East, so we get to continue to see them even with our move!

This year I managed to get a "thankful tree" put up -- something my friend Rachel does every year & inspired me to do. It has been a good activity for all of us and reminder of the incredible blessings we live with every day.  Our "thankful leaves" are going up, onto the tree instead of falling off :) The tree getting fuller everyday is a nice visual reminder of all we have.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Feeling GOOD at Badlands National Park

Saturday was a pretty decent weather day and with the bonus of it being a National Parks "free weekend" we decided to check out Badlands National Park.

It is a really bizarre piece of landscape. Very cool, but very weird too. Sort of felt like we were on the moon. The lack of anybody being around added to the eerie feeling :)


We came across this and were pretty impressed by whoever must be pedaling it across the country.

Owner of this fine piece of transportation in the far distance. Pretty hard core, but we weren't jealous.

We were super excited to see this guy emerge from one of the canyons -- first big horn sheep sighting for us in S. Dakota!

It wasn't our last sighting for the day --

No outing in S. Dakota would be complete without seeing at least one bison ... and a coyote :)

Since we'd heard that Wall Drug in Wall, S. Dakota was a "must-see" and it was on our way home, we decided to check it out. The kids really enjoyed it! We enjoyed our 5 cent coffee and were super glad to be there in the off season when things were empty.

We clearly tired Mabel out with all our sight seeing.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Family Photos in Easton, Washington

Before we left Leavenworth, we had the opportunity to hire our friend and photographer, Kelly Taklo, to take one more set of family pictures for us. She'd been camping in the area and had scoped out some great spots. So thankful to her for sharing her time and talents with us!!

A few of our favorites --


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Spending SIX days in the car--to spend SIX days in Vermont

Fifteen hours after we arrived in Rapid City, we loaded up our car for a 3700 mile road trip. It was an official celebration to the end of Jason's job hunt & the last 3 years of working toward his career change.

We stayed with friends along the way and although there were definitely some tense moments in the car with the kids, overall they did really well. All things considered -- they were only strapped into their car seats for nearly 60 hours, poor things!

We were fortunate to be able to stay the whole week at our beloved Forest Echo Farm (FEF)-- where we previously lived as caretakers for two years. It was a joy to re-introduce Luke to his very first home and we were so happy to be back at that special place. We had wondered if we remembered Vermont and Forest Echo as better than they actually were ... we definitely did not!

We stayed in the Ripley Hill cabin -- complete with wonderful sleeping porch, views of the farm pond & a kybo (outhouse)!

We arrived at nearly midnight to an unbelievable display of heavenly beauty - the stars were incredible. We had a lazy morning the next day, reacquainting ourselves with Forest Echo a bit before heading to our old church and catching up with friends there.

The next day was an all-FEF day -- we had FABULOUSLY warm weather which I was so so thankful for -- and spent a great deal of the day on FEF's small lake, Tiny Pond.

But first, a view of our old barn-home where we lived as caretakers. It's been painted RED since we last saw it!

Luke loved the hike down to the pond and Mabel was ready to paddle once we arrived!

We paddled all over the lake, checking out the beaver lodge and even found a geocache that we'd uncovered years ago.

Then it was time for a swim from the small dock which floats 20 yards from shore.

Our only outing for the day was to travel down one of our MOST favorite roads - Patchbrook Rd -- to get Maple Creemees at the Green Mountain Sugar House! Amazingly delicous!!!!

Driving back we came up the main road to Forest Echo and took in the beauty once again of a road we drove so so many times in our two years there. A beautiful couple miles in every season!

In an effort to squeeze the most out of the lovely warm day, we even had a campfire that evening.

And the next morning was a perfect day for playing in leaf piles!

Then we were off to Woodstock for the day -- one of my favorite Vermont cities!

A special bonus was seeing Jack & Ruth, some of the owners of FEF who we hadn't seen since Luke celebrated his one month birthday. They have always been incredibly kind to us and it was a pleasure to get to see them again in their lovely Woodstock home.

We spent even more time visiting our old haunts at FEF the next day ... realizing the time was already slipping by too fast!

W also visited some of our favorite village stores --

One of the reasons getting back to Vermont had been so heavy on my heart for the past year was that we left some very special, older friends there who had promised not to die until we were able to get back. I wanted them to be able to keep their promise and even more, to just see them. Unfortunately for us, Bud went to be with Jesus a month before we arrived. We were glad to know he was in a better place, but selfishly wished he would have held on just a bit longer. We were incredibly thankful to be able to spend some very special time with Edie. Bud and Edie were the first non-family/non-medical people to see and hold Luke. Luke had grown a little since then :) Edie was great with the kids, getting on the floor with them to teach them marbles, letting them play with her hearing aids and treating all of us to ice cream sundaes!

We had one final, grand day at Forest Echo 

And all too soon, it was time to say goodbye. To Forest Echo & Vermont. Until next time.