Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Home again!

We arrived home on December 23rd at 2am, just in time to do a little last minute prep. for Christmas. We all having been feeling a little out of the holiday mood so far, mostly because of the lack of extended family time, snow, school programs and Christmas parties that we missed while we were gone. But it felt great to be back in time for the Christmas eve program at church and that helped throw us back into it.

We moved back in with Don & Ang over the holidays and will be moving back to town in early Jan. to stay at the home of some friends as they take time in Arizona for the winter months. It will be great to have a home base again for the winter. As we settle in we will start to plan our new home and what travel plans might be in store for us in late winter/early Spring.

We feel so blessed to have such great friends and family that have supported our crazy life. I have had to explain way less in the last while about the choices we have made this last year. I think it helps that our key "people" understand what the plan is and why. It feels good to know there are at least some people who "get it" and can be our voice when others say we are nuts.

Yes, i know we are nuts, but in a good way.....(-:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Family time

We had a great day hanging out, driving around Northern Arizona, doing some rock collecting and eating home cooked food in our kitchen.
We had to do an 11/2 hr. time share spiel this morning to "pay" for our free stay in the condo. It was fairly pain free. We do NOT now own a time share but DO love our free stay in the wonderful Highlands Resort. The kids did a couple of games of mini golf as we were schmoozed and quickly led out the back door after our not saying yes to the timeshare. Hee hee

After a nice lunch at our condo we went to meet a lady from Cottonwood who collects rocks from all over the U.S. She had some great directions and info for us and we took off in the great rock search. Rock hounding in the mountains is a bit different than in Souris. First there is lots of driving up and down mountains. Trying to find dry creek beds and cuts in the banks of the road. We ended up having a great day and found some amazing rocks. Dean will have fun cutting and polishing them when we get home.
This evening we had another great home cooked meal and headed for the pool and hot tub. There was another family there while we were there. The kids had a great time playing tag and learning to "surf". What fun it is to meet another great family to spend a few hours with,trading stories and of coarse Miranda now has another best friend. They traded e-mails and hopefully can keep in contact.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hoover Dam,Grand Canyon & Sedona

We have not had internet access for the last few days. We left the Heppners and continued on East from Los Angeles area. We passed through Las Vegas and saw an amazing show called Le Reve. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to see such an amazing show. It was a combination of a Cirque Du Solea show combined with dance all in water and 100 feet up. It was truly amazing to see. We had front row seats and had the water 3 feet in front of us.

We then travelled through the mountains again to Hoover Dam. They age building a huge bridge beside the dam and we had a perfect view as we drove by.

We walked onto the dam and took a good look over to see how it was built so many years ago.

As we drove on towards the Grand Canyon we took many opportunities to stop and rock collect along the way. We drove down many back roads in search of the best stones and found by accident some very cool petraglyph drawings in a remote creek bed in the middle of nowhere.

Cactus in the snow with Christmas decorations!!!


The Grand Canyon is so beautiful and amazing, but the area around Sedona is just as amazing and beautiful. This is where we are right now and we LOVE it. Tomorrow will be filled with hiking, rock collecting and picture taking.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Friends.... gotta love'm

After our busy day at Disney, we left Anaheim and headed to the beach. We passed though Hollywood, Beverly Hills and stayed the night in Santa Monica. We settled in at a hotel right near the beach and went for a walk in the sand.

Today we said, bye for now to our friends. We parted ways for they had to leave back to Phoenix and the airport earlier than us.

Now we can finally sleep in and go for late breakfasts......(hee hee)

We had a most amazing time with Tim, Cindy, Rebekah, Michelle, Adam and Kalli. They are such amazing friends and it was a pleasure to travel with them. We had some interesting times trying to change our plans and keep up a good attitude at first. But we learned that being together was so much fun that you couldn't put a little twist in our plans to bring us down.

The last time we went on a big trip with Tim and Cindy, Colton was 3 and they helped push him around in the stroller. Now we got to help take care of baby Kalli. She is such a great part of our lives, as are her big sisters and brother.

The big kids have had such a great time these last 2 weeks. Playing and fighting like family. It is great to see how wonderfully they all get along.

Kalli is such an amazing baby. She is a great traveller and complained the least of all of us...

My hope is that the big kids will keep these memories with them forever.

Colton and Adam became even closer. They sat for hours in the back seat of the car talking and playing.

What a great group of kids!!!!We will see you soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Disney Christmas

We are here!!! After months of keeping the secret from the kids, we finally told them that they were getting a day at Disneyland for Christmas. I think I was just as excited as they were. I visited Disneyland when I was 10 with my family and now it was our turn to take our kids.

We stepped out of the car in the parking lot and Miranda was sooo excited to be in the magical world of Disney.
We came at the perfect time. The castle was all lit up in Christmas lights. It was so beautiful.
Of course we had to go to Mickey's house and get a picture.

We had a tea party at Minnie's house.

Miranda said this was a dream come true!

Everything was decorated for Christmas.
Kalli was the perfect little angel the whole day.

Tomorowland was the first stop. I decided I would be a gamer and go on all the scary rides.

This one was very fun. Even Kalli thought it was fun.

Yeah........... then we went on the space mountain ride. I almost died......

The kids all thought it was very cool.

Then we went over to splash mountain. Not only did I almost die again, but I got soaked!

The before picture of the Indiana Jones ride.

Then I thought it would be less terrifying to go on the teacup ride to calm down. I got really dizzy....

It was a very amazing day.....Did I say that already??
We stayed all day and soaked in all the Disney we could until the grand finale.
The fire works over the castle.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

a Spanish rockin'-cotton-pickin' good time

We have had a very exciting last few days. It started with a morning of Mexico. Yuma is only a few moles from Mexico and the local people told us how easy it was to park at the border and just walk over for lunch. So that is what we did. The Mexican border ended up being one of the easiest borders we have ever crossed. It is even much easier than going from Canada into the USA. We walked across and we didn't know we were in Mexico till we asked someone.

We had lunch at a very authentic Mexican restaurant. It was very fun.

After lunch the Heppner family headed off to San Diego and we headed North towards Quartsite in search of the Geode.

We found that Quartsite is not exactly where we wanted to be to find rocks ourselves. They are more a place to buy rocks someone else has found. But we did get directions on some places and a bit more Internet research got us a few more places too try.

We drove a half hour West and came to a town called Blythe where we spent the night. In the morning we went on the search. We drove an hour into the wilderness, down crazy desert paths to find the geode beds. There we started the dig. We found sited that other rock hounds had been searching and dug in similar places. We came back with a few really nice pieces.

On the drive we passed a cotton field and stopped to look and pick us some cotton.

We learned how much hard work it is to pick cotton by hand. How hard it must have been for all the people who have worked these fields in the past.

This is a bale of cotton picked by a big cotton combine.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hiking and sand duning

We spent the day hiking around the Yuma area. It is full of great places to explore. We started with a hike up the Gila mountains looking for rocks and just to be out in nature.

Some of the hills were very steep.

After our picnic lunch beside the hills we headed out to the sand dunes.

The kids had a great time running up and down the dunes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mission fun

We were very exciteded to find Crossroads mission. We were looking for a grocery store, so we punched grocery store into the GPS to find the nearest one. The one that was closest sounded like a corner store so we took the 2nd option. We followed the instructions from our very soothing sounding GPS lady. As we followed the road we became aware that the area we were driving through looked more industrial than we had seen untill then. We pulled up to the stop sign and there in front of us was a huge sign that said FOOD DROP OFF -----> Beside the sign was another sign that said CROSSROADS MISSION. Well that was a pretty obvious sign for us. So we gave up on the search for food and followed the signs to the homeless shelter. We parked the car and walked into the shelter. Told them we were ten people that had time and wanted to help. Did they need any? They said they sure did, could we come back tomorrow at 10:30. Of course we could. We also told them we had a bunch of kids sweatshirts. Were there any kids or families around. Well, right up the road was their family shelter and they would love for us to come by and share what we had with the kids. YEAH!!!

We arrived at the shelter at 10:30. The kitchen lady showed us the kitchen and asked if we would like to make some Christmas cookies for their Christmas meals. They usually serve up to 500 people per meal. They had 3 days of Christmas meals to feed all the people who came.

We washed up and spent our time making cookies. We ended up with around 750 sugar cookies. We mixed and rolled and cutout snowmen, hearts and a few others. We sprinkled and made every cookie with love. We talked about the kids who would come and look at all those fun cookies and hopefully they would feel the love that we put into those cookies.

We also stocked the shelves with tin after tin of beans, soup, stew and every other food item that comes in a tin. There shelves were all stocked up and ready for Christmas, when they had so many more people show up.

We met so many great people who either volunteer at the shelter or live there and work during the day in the kitchen. They were all so friendly and made us feel so comfortable even though we had just dropped by.

After leaving the men's shelter, we went over to the family shelter to meet the moms and kids. They were so excited to see us. They had been expecting us and the kids looked like it was Christmas. We went through all the sweatshirts one by one with the kids, fitting each child with 2 warm sweatshirts each. Cindy also had some brand new receiving blankets that a lady had sewn for us to take. They all went to babies and kids in the shelter that needed a blanket of their own. Then we gave them each a leather bracelet craft to make. The colored beads on the bracelet represented the love of Jesus.

I was so sad to leave the kids at the shelter. They had so much fun playing with our kids, taking pictures and hugging and laughing. We met a few of the moms, who had to live in the shelter as they looked for jobs so they could afford a home of their own. We learned about a mom of 1 month old preemie twins that lived in the shelter. She was gone all day looking for work to support her babies, while they stayed in daycare, waiting for her to come back at the end of the day. They are all so full of love and energy. Its hard to imagine having to raise a family in those conditions. But it is so great that they have a safe place to be.