Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Out on the Lake



We had quite the surprise last Sunday….we were invited out to a local lake.  The family attends our church and they just lavished love on us and our kids.


They grilled a fabulous lunch from their boat house.  He kids swam in the lake and loved heading out to the floating dock.


Darrell kayaked close to shore with a few of the little kids.


The most amazing thing was they took all of the kids rafting….serious work on their part.  They spent two hours loading and unloading kiddos on he raft, taking them on the lake and switching them out.  

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I've never ever seen Sara so excited.  She jumped up and down with excitement. It was such a sweet time.


We are very grateful for the opportunity to spend time out on their beautiful spot!


Summer Hiking



We have had several wonderful hikes in the past few weeks.  


Last week, we had cool days which made it great for heading off on new adventures.





Michaela even took a few of the kids to the North country to hike Mt. Crawford.




River Day



We had an amazing day on the river.  We headed out with the Outdoor club at church for a day on the river paddling.


We paddled upstream and ate lunch on a beautiful little spot.  The fellowship was good and the kids had a grand time on the rope swing.  Everyone of them gave it a try.  They had quite the adventuresome spirit.  




Brandon sailed off from the tree and had amazing air!


We had such a fun time and before we knew it was time to head back down the river.



We all enjoyed it and said we can't wait until we do it again!



Wilderness Camp



We've been a part of camp for over 17 years….it has been a wonderful place for our children to have fun, learn and grow in leadership skills.  This year we had 5 counselors and 5 campers.



They sang, listened to stories, shot rifles, did archery and their favorite….extended challenge where they are up in the trees on rope courses.  It is such a wonderful week to experience.




I had a few hours each morning while the younger ones were at camp…they only attend until noon.  I was able to go on a morning kayak adventure with Michaela, our oldest daughter.  It was such a special treat to be out on the lake with just her.  We paddled through the water lilies, enjoyed good conversation and enjoyed the big blue sky.


I also took my first and probably only horse lesson on the season…Spirit and I had a good lesson even if she pushed every button she could.  I know we both enjoyed it.


I also took a few hikes….one with our dog Ellie.  It gave me lots of prayer and thinking time.  I also took a hike with a dear friend….another treat as we didn't get interrupted one time by a kiddo.


At the end of the week of camp, we celebrated the kids accomplishments and then had the traditional ice cream.  


I am so thankful for the people who invest their time into this wonderful program.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sara



This girl is such a gem!


She recently had to swear an oath at Immigration in Bedford because she entered the country over the age of 14….for those of you who don't remember….we adopted her the day before her 14th birthday.


It was such a sweet ceremony.  We are so proud of her.


Fitting time doing it the Thursday before the Fourth of July!


We love you Sara!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fourth of July



We had a wonderful Fourth of July!

Our morning started with a parade in our home town….Kiara was involved because of the Jr. Miss Raymond Pageant.

The boys represented their Alert Cadet unit…NH 1st Bravo.

It was followed by an old fashion celebration with food and games.  It was good to chat with so many folks we haven't seen, play games and we won lots of prizes too.








Afterwards, we had he cousins come over and joined us to celebrate Michaela's birthday.

We were gifted with a case of marshmallow shooters.  We armed everyone and away they went.  The dogs chased over them clean up…not necessarily the best but good none the less.



We ended the night with sparklers.





Happy Fourth of July!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Texas, Alert and Snakebites

So we were able to spend a whole day in Memphis with our dear friends the Russell's.  We got to know this family when we lived in Germany....many years ago.  Their son, Kevin is 6 months older than our oldest daughter, Michaela.  They were both born in a Germany before we headed back to the States.

Getting together with them is like we were never apart....catching up with their busy lives was a sweet time.

We headed out to a music museum on the history of music in Memphis....the kids loved it but I love history and it was truly wonderful!  



We then went to Central BarBQ....yum!  Southern food at its best....pulled pork, sweet tea and all the sides!

On our return walk, we went by the Loraine hotel...made famous by the shooting of Martin Luther King.  We had studied a bit from this time in our history but decided we needed to do a unit study with the intention of coming here on our next trip.

Oh....we also went bowling!


It was an amazing day.

After separating from the Russell's, we took another swim in the hotel pool because we were pulling out early in the am to travel to the Alert Academy.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and attended an open house by Chaplin Burch.

The next morning, we met up with Jasons friend, Sean, who recently moved to Texas.  Jason didn't know he was coming and it was such a blessing for him to spend the day with him.

We headed to brunch, and then several information sessions on what is available to our boys through Alert, met up with some of the other families, chatted with some of the staff and were able to reconnect with some Alert Cadet staff.  The time flew by that afternoon.

We then went to a presentation by the Unit on skills they had learned.  It was awesome.  Our younger boys were excited and amazed.  

We then watched what we would call in the military....a review of the troops.  They marched in several formations in parade review...their precision was spot on.

We then headed into the auditorium for the actual advancement....there were speakers by their commanding officers, the men sang hymns and recited all of 1 Peter and were presented awards.  It was a beautiful program...we are so proud of our son Jason.

We know this was a challenge....not everyone stuck with it...but he did.  He has learned so many new things and we are so thankful to the Command for the time they invested in our son's life.

One of the most moving times was when they released the men to their families.  Many of them ran to their fathers...tears streaming down their faces and they clung to their dads.  It was a very emotional time for everyone.  We saw our own son do this...while they built these boys up into becoming men....they turned their hearts towards their dads....the ones who God placed in their lives to walk along side them as a mentor for life.

Jason then made the rounds and was so excited to see Sean.


This time of celebration was followed by a dinner.  It was a sweet reunion with our son where we were also able to meet the other men of Unit 57.

The evening was finished off by a night of volleyball and ultimate frisbee.  Our boys closed the place out but it was just starting for us.

Our son, Brandon forgot his watch on the field bleachers and Jason, Brandon and Ben decided to walk back together.  They were still out when we received a call.  Ben was bit by a snake and we don't know what kind.

We drove him to ER....wow, it sure was the most unique ER we've ever been in!  The waiting room looked like a living room...there were big bowls of Hershey miniature chocolates, chips and drinks around.  They took Ben right in and asked lots of questions.  The doctors watched and decided to keep him over night for observation.  Darrell and Jason headed back to the Academy and I stayed with Ben.

Despite some leg cramps and swelling, it was determined it wasn't a venomous snake but perhaps a black rat snake which are aggressive.  They sent us on our way in he morning.

We returned to the Academy, packed up and headed to breakfast with Sean's family.  We enjoyed our time getting to know them better and made some arrangements about getting together in the future.

We then hopped into the car and drove straight through to Delaware where Darrell's mom lives....it was a long trip but the kids did wonderfully!  When we arrived, everyone went swimming and we had a cook out.  We took naps that afternoon and everyone headed to bed early.

It is good to have our son back...I look forward to our time together in the coming weeks because he has decided to return to the Academy for the next phase of training which starts towards the end of June. Hoorah!