Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review of 2017

Some highlights from a great year!

Ski trip to Copper Mountain, Colorado!


In talking about our favorite highlights of the year, this is what each of us came up with:

Caleb:  the baby possum that we found in our window well:

Moriah:  RV trip, skiing

Keenan:  Mancation, RV trip, skiing

Philip:  All the National Parks we saw, (including Mammoth Caves in November) and getting out of the Reserves

Joia:  Baby Joia, riding on a garbage truck

... and our First Annual Neighborhood Christmas Party in the Driveway

What an amazing year!   Thank you Lord for the countless ways you bless our family.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Wrapping up in Michigan, Heading for Home via Edwards, Illinois!

After sledding on the 28th, we changed, warmed up and then drove to Grandma's new place. (Philip and Keenan had seen it on their Mancation, but the rest of us hadn't been there yet).  It was really nice and spacious!

A picture of all of us before heading out to dinner

Dad treated us all to dinner at Guernsey's!   I had had their ice cream before, but had never had dinner there!   Wow!   Their broasted chicken is amazing!

Ice cream all around for dessert!

Caleb and Moriah pose with train track #2

The kids and I hit the sack early that night... all of the travel and visiting and snow playing was exhausting!

On the 29th, we had a chill morning, I did some blogging and Philip and the kids spent half the day outside making the sledding track.

In the afternoon, we played Keenan's new "Qwixx" game (really fun!) and did a bunch of packing (boy, were we sick of packing by this time!) and then Dad took us to Red Robin for dinner.

Moriah posing as Lady Liberty while we waited for our table

While we waited for our food, we played "Pass the Pigs" (which we have decided is now our "restaurant game"!)

Who knew two tiny little pigs could be so much fun?

Delicious dinner!   Man, do they know how to make a burger!

When we got home, we finished packing and played Five Crowns for the first time.   It was fun, but I had some pretty severe beginners Bad luck.  

The next morning, Uncle Ty, Aunt Mary and Taylor got up early to see us off (despite getting home at 2:30 the night before!) and we were on the road shortly after 9.

The goodbyes were getting old by now too :(

The roads were quite bad in places and we had to take a significant detour off of 94, due to a 40 car pile up the day before.

We still had one more thing to look forward to, though!   Our good friends (all the way back from medical school), Anthony and Melissa had recently moved to Edwards, Illinois, and we stayed the night with them on our way home!

Their home was spacious and Gorgeous and it was fun to tour it and get a feel for their new life...and anticipate a summer visit when we can take advantage of all the outdoor fun!

Melissa's brother, Jordan, and sister, Marleigh, were also visiting and offered to babysit all six kids so we could go out to dinner!   Anthony and Melissa took us to one of their favorite restaurants, Edge.  It. Was. Amazing!!

Us at the restaurant

We got to have a leisurely, two and a half hour dinner and really be able to get caught up without worrying about the kids... what a blessing!

After a delicious breakfast the next morning, we snapped a couple pictures of all of us before Anthony had to leave for work:

Anthony and Melissa, Maddie, Nino and Ellie

Moriah with their sweet dog

Nino and Keenan playing Boss Monster

They have an Impressive Magna Tile collection, which caught Everyone's attention!

Around 10:20, we hit the road for the last leg home!   While we drove, we listened to the sixth book in the Little House Series, "The Last Winter".   It was soo wonderful, and the perfect story to accompany our drive out of the snow.   I loved the themes in it - the gratitude they had for the simplest things, the lack of complaining, and the joy they found in just being together and being warm and making music together.  More on this later...

I did a chunk of driving in the afternoon while everyone else slept and thoroughly enjoyed the quiet "thinking time" it gave me.   I have so much anticipation for this new year and what it holds for our family!

We got home around 7:30 pm, unpacked the van and had a (mostly) blissful, chill family evening - despite having no plans, no guests, no party hats or beads, or even any bubbly.   We were just glad to be...HOME.  We listened to more of the audio book and played some of the kid's new games.  Happy New Year to us!!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sledding in Michigan, 2017

After lunch on the 29th, Aunt Mary joined us and we went sledding!   Even though it was quite cold out, the sun was shining and there was NO wind, so it was actually quite pleasant!

Happy, happy kids

Goofy Mommy

Philip did a great job of making this sled run for the kids by packing it down over and over and adding snow to bare spots until they could slide all the way down the hill to the sidewalk!

Caleb was quite content to collect a ton of hard snowballs from the edge of the sidewalk

Keenan's snow angel

Just the girls

Unloading his stash so Keenan could use the sled (watch for the snowballs later)

Philip also made a "hill" at the top of the sled run to help them get going better

Aunt Mary showing off her skill on a little "Bunny" sled from Norway!

Helping Philip get going (he kept sliding off the back)


There he goes!

Aunt Mary had better luck

Keenan made his own track a little ways away...

It worked great!

He even got some air up over the edge of the snow beside the sidewalk!

How cool is that!?

Riah did too!

Aunt Mary tried it out, but didn't try the air part =)

At this point, I was happy with the photos I'd got, and my toes were quite cold, so I sat in the van... and then the fun continued, so I snapped these pictures through the window:

Caleb and Aunt Mary decided to use some of his snowballs...

Philip retaliates...

Caleb comes in with the big guns...

Aunt Mary dumps a sled full of snow on Philip...

Caleb takes Daddy down...

Aunt Mary sits on him in triumph...

Philip grabs her...

...and throws her over!

She finishes him off =)

Rosy-cheeked happy boy!

These next photos didn't happen until the following day but go under the "sledding" heading, so I decided to include them here:

The kids wanted to do more sledding, but neither Philip or I really wanted to drive them anywhere.  Uncle Ty said that their kids used to make a little sledding "luge" run beside their house... so Philip and the kids set out to make one!    Philip shoveled all the snow off the deck to use for it and also collected snow from the driveway.  They spent HOURS outside and ended up making an impressive track!

Caleb and Moriah coming down

Banking at the turn...

Carrying on down...

...and turfing off!

Keenan chooses a different position...

Look how far he went!

What fun for our kids to get to spend so much time in the snow on this visit!   They loved every second of it!   I loved that they loved it...and am so happy to be back in snow-less Kansas now ;)