Friday, July 14, 2017

Fourth of July, 2017

Our Fourth this year was wonderful.   No hoopla, nowhere to be, no food to prepare, no parking and walking to fireworks...just the five of us and God's beautiful creation.

We started out at Fall River State Park.   It was still raining when we arrived, so we waited it out a bit and then started when it was just sprinkling.  Everything was very wet and muddy on the first trail.  It wasn't the type of trail we are typically used to and was very grassy, some quite high.

See how overgrown the trail is?  

I made sure Philip went first and carried a stick to swipe all the cobwebs, since no one had used the trail before us that day =)

The kids and I with the pretty Fall River Lake in the background

All five of us

I love how their bright colors stood out against all the green =)

A few fun plant shots:

On a bridge... where we mistakenly added some extra mileage to our hike...
By this time we all had squishy, wet feet and were getting very hungry!

With my love.
Look how grassy the trail is here!

I love this shot!

We were VERY ready for lunch at the finish of this hike and were happy that Philip had suggested we all bring an extra pair of dry socks!

It was actually quite cool at lunch and these two snuggled in a blanket while they ate

We had some delicious "All Dressed" chips with our lunch - Yay, Canada!

Next, we headed to Cross Timbers State Park, at Toronto Lake, near Toronto KS (named after Toronto, Ontario!)

Now This is hiking!   Go Kansas!!

So fun to have some elevation change

Thanks, Grandma Eberts for our 4th of July clothes! =)

Couple family shots by Toronto Lake

Our little billy goat ready for the last hike

American Cutie

This trail had a super cool "fort" that people have made over time!

In other news, Philip and I watched these two great movies (both based on true stories) over the weekend and highly recommend both, ESPECIALLY Lion!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Canada Day/Farewell Stephens

Canada day here was not particularly patriotic or celebratory, but it was a fun day as a family, nonetheless.

Well, it was mostly fun.   The morning was bittersweet as we went to the airport to see off our friends, Todd, Dawnita and Tam who are headed to France and then on to West Africa for the next year!   We got to spend some special time and prayer with them before they headed through security.

I love this one of Moriah and Tam!

The three of them

Todd and Dawnita

What a sweet friend and encourager Dawnita has been to me, I will miss her so much!

On our way out, we ran into Andrew, our friend and Via Christi grad from last year, who had been in town for the week.

Our annual Canada day pic =)

In the afternoon, we took the kids to the theater to see the brand new Despicable Me movie.   We all loved it!! =)

After dinner we all went for a 3.5 mile walk.   We're trying to make a point of getting in exercise that is going to help us on our hikes on our big state parks trip in September!

John and Heather's Wedding

Last Sunday we attended the last of four weddings in the last five months! Recently graduated resident, Heather and new third year resident, John got married at the beautiful Barns at Timber Creek where our friends Dan and Mindy got married a couple years ago!

A couple pics before the ceremony since no one knew if the weather was going to hold!

Devin and Melissa


...and a bee on a flower =)

Time for the weddin'!

Heather and her dad

John, Heather and Sam

Just as they were wrapping up, the ominous grey clouds let loose and the umbrellas were a poppin'!

Their joy can't be dampened by rain!

Umbrellas selfie!

Haha!   Our friends Sean and Todd sharing an umbrella

For their guestbook, they had someone take polaroids of each of the guests and then we put them in a book and wrote a note underneath - so cool!

Mr. and Mrs. Grisham!

Philip and I lucked out and ended up at a table with three Amazing, godly couples - Sam and Amy McVay, Todd and Dawnita Stephens and Jeff and Jenny Doolittle!

Everything was beautiful, the food was delicious, the speeches were awesome and the fellowship was sweet.   Congratulations, John and Heather!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

18 Hour Getaway

Shortly after the Storeys left on Monday, we found out that friends of ours had rented a cabin at El Dorado Lake for two nights and were only able to use one. They asked if anyone would be interested in using the cabin that night and the kids and I jumped at the chance!  Philip had an early morning meeting the next day so he couldn't come.  =0/

We threw bathing suits, bedding and food in the van and headed to El Dorado Lake!

This was our tiny cabin

The whole time we were there, we literally saw TWO people, briefly!   It was sublime being in such a beautiful, calm, quiet place, just the four of us =)

I really don't have any fire making skills (without a starter log or a ton of paper), but still attempted it with no luck.   With no fire, instead of roasting hot dogs, the kids just had sandwiches, and were very gracious.  =)

You could see the lake from our cabin

After dinner, we headed over to swim...

So pretty

The older I get, the less likely I am to swim in cold lake water, but I did and it was so refreshing! =)

Once the kids discovered the soft sand, they barely touched the water!

You can tell I was feeling relaxed and laid back, since I let them even do this... ;)

Super sandy, happy kids!

They even made sand beards!


Love these jump shots!

These ones of them running into the water are some of my favorites:

The lighting was perfect to catch the water droplets in the sun

These were fun too...

...and of course, it wouldn't be a day at the beach if somebody (or all of them) didn't get buried!

Climbing out

This was After he rinsed off!!!

After changing into pajamas, we raced back to catch the last bit of sunset over the water

The cabin was tiny, with just a small set of bunk beds, a full bed and a tiny table, but it had A/C (which worked beautifully!) an overhead fan, lights, and power outlets, so we were happy campers!   The bathrooms were pretty iffy, but had flush toilets and running water, so no complaints.

Snuggled in bed for some story time!
(This bunk bed was just their size!)

Caleb and I shared the full bed

On Tuesday morning, I was up before everyone else and had some quiet time/devotions on the little porch swing, while several deer watched me from the woods =)

Sleepy kids at breakfast

After breakfast, we packed up our stuff, swept out the cabin so it would be clean for our friends and headed out...

A picture of all of us before leaving

We stopped at the playground by the beach first

I love when they do this =)

Group shot by the lake

Caleb really wanted to bring all of these home, but settled for a picture with them instead ;)

On the way out of the park, we stopped at the tiny general store so they could get some treats

We only needed to be back in Wichita by 12:30, so we stopped at a couple parks in El Dorado on the way home.    At the first one, I suggested that the kids do a "Ninja Warrior" challenge on the playground and I would time them:

Obstacle #1: climb through these support bars without touching the ground

Obstacle #2, rock wall

Obstacle #3, use these as descending monkey bars (no feet touching the ground)

Obstacle #4, run up the slide

Obstacle #5 (this was my favorite!) Take your whole body through each level of these "hoops" (this was especially funny when Keenan did it)

Obstacle #6, Monkey bars and down the ladder

Moriah's turn!

Oops!  Obstacle #1 was actually climbing UP the fireman pole (I missed this shot with Keenan)

(Because she's smaller, she was able to do this part faster and her time was actually shorter than Keenan's)   Of course, he immediately wanted to do it again and was motivated to do it much faster his second time ;)

Then we went to a splash park for half an hour...

Once everyone was cooled off and dry, we picked up lunch at Subway and headed home!   What a delightful little getaway!   Thank you, Olsons!