Our Western Adventure: Bryce Canyon National Park

Howdy all. Today I am following up on my series about our trip out west this summer. This time I am focusing in on our day at Bryce Canyon National Park, which was almost a 2 hour drive from where we stayed.

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It definitely deserves its own post, don’t you think? I’ve said this many a time over and over, but pictures really do it no justice. Bryce was absolutely stunning!

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One of the things that makes it so unique are the hoodoos, these crazy cool rock formations that are literally everywhere at Bryce.

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You can use your imagination as to what each looks like. The day we went, we were also gifted with a gorgeously blue, clear sky, which contrasted perfectly with the reddish orange color of the rocks.

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We began our travels at the Visitor Center, then drove over to Sunset Point. From there we hiked down Navajo Loop, which is a steep descent down into the canyon. I was SO glad we used that trail for going down, not up! It was basically a series of tight switchbacks that go on and on. From there we went across the bottom of the canyon, hiking the Queen’s Garden Trail. After going across a ways, we made our way up to Sunrise Point. One great thing about Bryce is that due to a much higher elevation, it is cooler in temperature than Zion. A bad thing is that unless you are used to the elevation, you can start to feel it when you hike. Thankfully we didn’t notice it as much until near the end of our longer hike, when heading back up the canyon.

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It is worth it though! Everywhere you turn is an amazing view! For several of my kids, along with my husband, Bryce was their favorite park.

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After our hike, we chose yet another amazing place to have a picnic lunch, then drove around to several of the viewpoints. Each one was spectacular!

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You can easily see at least the highlights of Bryce in a day trip, though I’m sure we would’ve discovered much more had we spent another day there. If you ever get a chance to visit, I’d highly recommend Bryce Canyon. It is truly a one-of-a-kind park that is unforgettable.

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Dear Kids…Fall 2018

Dear Dan, Andrew, Heidi, Joey, and Josh,

Here we are again, ready to launch into a brand new school year. Summer went by in a flash…actually, the last year went by in a flash, didn’t it? Eleventh, tenth, eighth, and sixth grades. WOW is all I can really say. Y’all are growing up way, way , WAY too fast for me.

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So, what do I want to tell you all before you head off on that exciting, sometimes nerve-wracking first day? First and foremost is that I love you like crazy and am so proud of each of you. Don’t you ever forget that. I’m not sure how this flawed, ordinary lady got blessed with such great kids, but hey, I’ll take it. No, I don’t think any of you are perfect (none of us are), but you do make me proud in so many ways that you probably don’t even realize. Keep on being great kids, whether that be with the big things in life or just the little everyday stuff.

Try your very best, whether it be in playing an instrument, learning new math skills, working in shop class, or writing an essay. I realize that not every subject will thrill you, but you are still to give it your best effort. No, I don’t expect anyone here to be perfect, but I do expect diligent work and not slacking off. Keep on reading and never be ashamed of your love for books.

I know I also say this every year, but be kind and respectful to each of your teachers, whether they are your favorite or not. Same goes for each of the staff members at your schools. And your classmates?? Yup, you are to show kindness to everyone, even the kids that get on your nerves (hint—they may be the ones who could use it the most).

Continue to be little lights for Jesus. We are now in the throes of middle and high school and though we try to protect you, I would be naïve to think you are not being exposed to at least some of the temptations and ugliness of this world. Please be extra strong in your faith and stand up for what you believe in. It just isn’t worth it to follow the crowd on so many things. I may be “old,” but I do know some things by this point, and that one I know for sure. You know what is worth it though? Having a firm foundation in the Lord and living for Him, not for the world. Believe me, people will notice and wonder what it is that makes you different. Hopefully you can tell them that it is Christ in you that makes a difference.

Well, that’s it for now. Know that I pray for each of you daily as you venture out and will continue to do so all of my days. Remember that Dad and I are rooting for you. We’re always here to listen, to help, and to love on you, no matter what. Good luck tomorrow. You’ll be just fine, even though you may be a little nervous. I’ll miss you, but am excited for a new year together!

Love, Mom

 

Our Western Adventure: Zion National Park

Happy Monday! If you caught my last post on the Hoover Dam, you will know that we just came back from a trip out west. I am doing a little recap of the different destinations we visited, along with pictures and my take on each one. Today I am delving into Zion National Park, which we visited 3 different days.

First things first–Zion is stunningly beautiful. You may have read that via other sources or have heard people talk about it. It’s definitely not overrated, and though my pictures are okay, they do it no justice.

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On our first day in Zion, we got there later in the morning, so we had to park in town and shuttle in. We kind of got the lay of the land that day and didn’t go too crazy with hikes. That day we did the Lower Emerald Pools trail (the Middle & Upper were closed due to storm damage), the Grotto, and the Court of the Patriarchs. We had our picnic lunch at the Grotto trail. We pretty much had an incredible picnic spot for lunch every single day on our travels. It was fabulous!

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On our second day at Zion, we met up with some friends who were also out there and did a portion of The Narrows together.

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The Narrows is a hike literally through the Virgin River, which runs through a slot canyon for many miles. We met up early in the morning and shuttled out to the Riverside Walk trail, which goes down to the entry point for the river. You then enter and hike upriver basically as far as you want, then turn back around until you get back to the entry point. I’m not sure how far we went upriver, but it took several hours going up, then not quite as long coming downstream.

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Every turn of the river gives you a new view. You always want to keep going to see what’s around the next bend! I told my friend that it was like a little slice of Paradise down there. It was also a much more comfortable temperature there in the morning, as well as pretty shaded.

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In the picture above, you can see how you are sometimes pretty hemmed in by the canyon walls. Since we went in the  summer, we did not rent any special gear, just wore closed toe hiking sandals, and we were all fine. You do have to be careful and take your time picking around and over a lot of the rocks in the water, that’s for sure. Fortunately the water was not high when we went and there were more sandy areas than I expected.

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I would highly recommend the Narrows for anyone visiting Zion. It is a really neat experience and a great bucket list hike!

We did a bunch of other day trips to other places in between, but then came back to Zion on our last day in Utah. This time we did one morning hike to Hidden Canyon, the trail I was most looking forward to. I had really wanted to do Angel’s Landing, but it was also closed due to storm damage the entire time we were out there, so that was a no go. Hidden Canyon is maybe not as well known, but it could be challenging too.

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One may think that to get to a hidden canyon, you are down low, but not in this case. It is a hanging slot canyon, so you actually walk up about a mile or so (and gain close to 1,000 feet in elevation during that mile) to get somewhat near the entrance to Hidden Canyon. It is a bunch of long switchbacks that take you up, up, up, so it’s no joke. Even super fit looking people were huffing and puffing on their way up, so that made me feel better as we took several quick breaks on the way up. At the top there is kind of a landing area where you can rest and keep going or turn back. Just beyond that is the start of the chains, the part I most wanted to do. My daughter was having no part of the chains and Jeff doesn’t love heights, so the boys volunteered to do this next part with me.

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Several parts had a slightly larger ledge, but you’re mostly holding on and watching your step, because it is a loooong drop off to the side. If there are people coming back the opposite way, you have to get to a wider section and maneuver around one another. The boys did great! Below is a picture that my husband took of us coming back on the one section.

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I would have loved to explore the actual canyon, which you can see the mouth of in the above picture. However, we had two family members waiting on us, so we didn’t tarry too much. It looked really cool in there though.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this hike. As it was our last full day out there, we headed back to our rental and chilled before a long travel day.

A couple of things for people who may want to visit there…

Since we visited in early August, it was mega hot there every single day (as in 104-105 degrees F every afternoon). If you go in summer, take lots of water and make sure to drink it. There are water bottle filling stations at a lot of the stops, so top your water off whenever you have a chance. Plan hikes for the morning hours if possible. It is also extremely crowded that time of year and the main visitor lot fills up very quickly. We had to be there by @7:30 am if we wanted a spot, otherwise you end up parking in Springdale and shuttling in. If I ever go back (which I would LOVE to do) I would try to shoot for the fall when maybe it’s not so hot and crowded. Never the less, Zion is still gorgeous and I absolutely loved it. A beautiful piece of God’s creation, that’s for sure, and I’m so thankful to have experienced it.

 

 

 

Our Western Adventure: The Hoover Dam

Today I am embarking on a mini-series based on our recent trip out west, an adventure that has actually been in the works for a number of years. It was one of those trips that we’ve talked about and wanted to do before the kids all grew up on us, so this year we decided to just go for it! I’m so glad we did, because it was awesome and we had many amazing adventures together.

The first day involved a flight from Baltimore to the Las Vegas airport. This was the first time our youngest three have flown in an airplane, and they did remarkably well. We definitely had a “you’re not in Pennsylvania anymore” moment right away as we immediately encountered rows upon rows of slot machines, literally upon stepping off of the airplane. They were everywhere!! We flew to save ourselves many days of driving and so we could use our vacation days to really focus on the things we most wanted to see. After picking up our rental car, we decided to take a little jaunt to the Hoover Dam before driving on to our house in southern Utah.

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I obviously knew the Hoover Dam was huge, but it’s really nothing like seeing it in person. It is enormous. We took what was called the Power Plant tour, which lasted about an hour.

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Some of my boys are very into engineering, so I thought this was a neat opportunity for them to learn about how it was built, the turbines, water flow, etc. The tour itself was pretty interesting overall, and you go underground quite a ways for part of it, so a bonus was that most of the inside tour was nice and cool! I was amazed that it was only built in less than 5 years, a really remarkable feat given that it happened in the 1930’s.

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The inside museum part also has some neat interactive things for kids to do. I was really taken with this series of sculptural panels.

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Seeing this clock outside should have prepared me for the different time zones. In Nevada we were 3 hours behind our norm. In Utah it was 2. In Arizona it should be 2, but they don’t observe daylight savings, so it was 3 hours behind when we were out there. Are you confused? Because I surely was for the first day or so, especially as the clocks in our rental were set to several different times as well and we traveled between those three states.

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We honestly did not spend a ton of time outside and walking along the whole thing. For one thing, it was very crowded. Number two, it was literally 111 degrees there when we visited. Number three, we had just traveled many hours with several hours to go, and were ready to be on our way at that point.

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With all that said, I really was glad we made this a stop. It was worth seeing, and I felt like the tour was worth doing as well. Below is a very large sculpture of one of the workers who helped build the dam.

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My next post will be on our experience at Zion, including our hike of The Narrows!

Kidnapped!

As it is my 19th wedding anniversary this week, I thought I’d re-share a story I wrote 5 years ago. It’s a fun one and still makes me laugh!

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This is a true story. A true story about me–ON my wedding day.
I’m writing this, not as a serious piece or wannabe public service announcement, but to make you have a little chuckle at my expense.
You see, today is my 14th wedding anniversary.
Ah, the memories…

Here’s the things that stick out most in my mind when I think back on my wedding day:
It was hot. REALLY hot (just like today!). And humid.

The church we were married in was small and not air conditioned. Plus we were brainiacs and chose to get married at 2 in the afternoon on a mid-July day. Why not, right?

While I was waiting for my “big moment” after getting my wedding dress on, I waited in a basement room of the church, parked in front of a box fan with my dress hiked up over my knees. I was such a classy bride. Somehow a photo of this did not make it into our wedding album.

When my handsome groom was repeating his vows, I focused on a droplet of sweat that was making its way down his nose and hung on the end of it. Oh, and a fly buzzing around his head. Not because I’m shallow or flippant about my marriage, but because I was nervous about being in front of the crowd watching us. Something to focus on, you know?

Apparently he was just as nervous because when ring time rolled around, he was trying to put his ring on me. Um, it was way too big. Finally we figured it out and put the correct ones on each other. See, I told you we were brainiacs.

Since our reception was outside under a big rented tent, my wonderful parents had arranged for buckets of water ice to be available as a snack while we had our pictures done. People LOVED this idea. You know, in that awkward time span after a wedding while you’re waiting for the real food to start.

During cake time we were so NOT nice and sweet. Somehow I ended up with wedding cake up in my eye. A picture of this is in our wedding album. We kissed afterwards, so it’s all good.

After the cake and all that stuff, we were just about getting ready to go in, get changed into real clothes, and finally leave for our honeymoon. Just at that moment, my Aunt Beverly called us over to tell us something. That’s when the kidnapping occurred.

Yep, it’s really true. I was actually kidnapped on my wedding day.
Now, before I tell anymore, I have to explain a little more about who kidnapped me. To fully appreciate the story, you have to get a word picture of my uncles.
My Dad comes from a long line of farmers. So, pretty much 95% of his family is involved with farming somehow. And, at 6’6″, my Dad is the “little” one of his brothers. They’re both just about that tall, but much bigger than him. Not fat, just big and burly and farm-boy strong. They also have always had the mountain man beards going on, sorta like these guys.

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Anyway, are you getting a picture in your head?

Good, because here’s what happened next….

My Aunt Beverly calls us over. At that moment, a friend of ours (also extremely big and burly) grabs my new husband from behind. I was all like “What the…?” when I feel myself being lifted up by my elbows and see my Uncle Wayne on one side and my Uncle Frog (his real name’s Bob, by the way but I’ve always known him as Frog) on the either side of me, both with an iron grip on my arms. They half toss me (only because they’re super strong;)) into my Uncle Frog’s farm pickup. “Well Raquel Welch, (that’s been Frog’s nickname for me since I was little. I have no idea why, other than the fact that my name’s Rachel. Rachel, Raquel. He also calls my Dad Jesse James and my brother Honky Baloney. Everyone gets a cool nickname in this family.) we’re going to go for a ride.” Before I know it, we’re pulling out the parking lot of the church, and I still have no earthly clue what’s going on.

If you had a good picture of what Uncle Frog looks like, I’m sure you can imagine his pickup. Yes, my friends, I spent a small part of my wedding day sitting crunched (in my wedding dress on a 98 degree day, no less) between my mountain man uncles, gear shift in between my knees, and old Mountain Dew and green Skoal cans rolling around my feet. Oh, and baler twine and straw flapping around the back.

See, I told you I was a classy bride.

Anyhow, they start driving around the back roads near the church that I was married in, discussing crops and the weather like they hadn’t just snatched a newly married bride a mere 5 minutes before. I still had no idea what the heck was happening, but since I’m usually an easy going person, I was rolling with it. After a few miles, they looped back around to the church parking lot. They slow down and drive by the reception tent, where I see the guy who had held down my groom with a microphone in his hand.

“Did they get enough money yet?” one of my uncles hollers out the rolled-down window. “Nope, keep driving!” the other guy yells back. I also see my husband with a hat in his hand and a miffed expression on his face. Okay, so I’m starting to get a clue now. Apparently I’m being held for ransom. Why, I have no idea. But all of our wedding guests look like they’re enjoying themselves (as much as you can on such a hot day), so I guess it’s all some kind of big joke.

After more riding around and discussing farming, we pulled back around to the church and they were informed that I could be released now. I hop out of the truck in my wedding dress and see what’s up.

So, I guess my man had to go around and ask the guests for money to buy back his bride, then they planned to give us the money to spend on our honeymoon. My poor husband, who is very proud, especially when it comes to money, was mortified. Every time my uncles see him, they still love to tease him about it.

Right after this happened, and even for months afterward when the subject of our wedding comes up, people thought we were somehow in on their plan. A couple of people were like, “Rachel, you must be a good actress, because you looked really surprised.” Um, that’s because I WAS. Definitely no acting going on here.

So, there you have it folks. How I was kidnapped on my wedding day. It’s a pretty funny memory, and our kids just recently heard the story.

A day that will live in infamy. Ha ha, not really.

This picture was snapped a little while after, when we really WERE leaving for our honeymoon. This is one of my absolute favorite wedding day pictures. I’m sure we were like “Finally!”

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Thanks for tuning in!
Rachel

My Thoughts on Turning 40

I’m not 40 yet, but soon and very soon I will be! Oh yes, that milestone birthday has crept up and will be here in a few short weeks. How do I feel about it? Well, I’m really not quite sure. I don’t feel almost-40, whatever that is supposed to feel like. No mid-life crisis here yet or anything, but it does make me think about life and what I’ve learned in these almost 4 decades.

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So buckle up, here are my random streams of consciousness and things I’d tell those in their 20’s-30’s about life at 40:

Family is precious. They might drive you crazy at times, but they are such a wonderful gift. Don’t take a single one of them for granted because they might not always be around. That goes for your parents, spouse, kiddos, and so on.

You know who you are…for the most part at least. All the pretty sides of you and the not-so-pretty ones that surface sometimes (or often). By 40 you have a decent handle on what you’re good at, what you’re terrible at, what you will forever need to work on, spiritual gifts you have, sins that trip you up, etc. Things have come to my attention in my 30’s that I probably wouldn’t have been able to totally pinpoint 10 or 20 years ago.

You can’t eat just anything you want. Well, you can, but in your later 30’s there begin to be repercussions for eating whatever the heck you want, whether it be heartburn or digestive issues or jeans that suddenly seem smaller. I’m not sure about men, but for women (or at least ones I’ve talked to), the metabolism starts to not be quite so hot in the mid to later 30’s. (Unless you have a seriously active job or are a workout fiend.) Sad but true, my friends! Sad but true…

I value real, genuine people. I have developed a low tolerance for flakiness and fakey-ness. Instead I definitely take a shine to those who are just flat-out real and genuine with me and aren’t putting on a false front. I love down-to-earth folks and hope to heavens that I am that way. Feel free to slap me if I’m not! While I’m on the subject of personal pet peeves, I also can’t stand the whole entitlement mentality that seems rampant these days.

Experiences totally trump stuff. By this point I would much, much rather travel to somewhere new or experience something cool than buy a new wardrobe or drive a fancy car. I’d also rather my kids get experience gifts than junk. Things that we get to experience as a family are the very best of all.

Keep on learning new things. Just because you’re out of college or have a houseful of kids vying for your attention doesn’t mean you can’t keep learning. Check out things that interest you and go for it. I had a hankering to learn how to sew and bought myself a sewing machine for my 30th birthday. Since then I’ve learned how to use it, but I’ve also taught myself lots of other skills just in the past decade. I don’t plan on stopping either!

You hopefully have gained more wisdom by this point. By 40 most of us have had a whole host of ups and downs in every aspect of our lives–and hopefully we’ve learned a thing or two from those ups and downs that we can apply to future stuff! By the way, this is not to say that 20 or 30 year olds can’t be wise–I know plenty that are, I just believe it can increase with age and experiences.

Be content. Easy to say, sometimes hard to truly do.

You’re never going to please everyone. Trust me. I know this one well. Just do your absolute best and focus on pleasing the Lord, not so-and-so.

It’s okay to not check everything off your to-do list. I am an avid list person and make myself one of these pretty much every day. I have given myself permission to not complete the whole thing and leave one or two things undone. They usually get carried over until the next day.

Every day is a gift. Don’t squander it. It’s easy to take our health for granted when we’re young, but you never know when that could be taken away from you. My husband was a vibrant 37 year old when he had a stroke. I could have easily died from a rare and severe pregnancy complication when I was barely 23, fresh out of college, and delivering my firstborn child 6 weeks early. Praise God we are all healthy and fine, but it might have gone the other way. Those experiences definitely put things in perspective for me.

And the most important one I saved for last:

God is always faithful. Always. Don’t ever forget it, no matter what may be happening in your life. Trust Him. He loves you more than you could ever imagine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

Happy New Year everyone!

I pray that you have experienced a joy-filled holiday season and are eagerly looking forward to a brand new year. I’m sure I’m not alone in that this time of year makes me pause and reflect on happenings within the past year, plus look forward to some new things as well.

Here are some highlights from our year as a family:

*Our oldest two boys were able to go to Sea Base, a high adventure base in the FL Keys. They had a wonderful experience there, including paddling across the ocean in a canoe, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, and kayaking. They loved it. Oh yeah, it was the first time they’ve ever flown as well. My highlight was watching a video someone took of my boys’ faces that first time the plane really took off. I was dying!!

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*My husband left his job of many years and began afresh in a completely new career. This time last year we had no idea what the future held in this regard. God is SO good and brought about a new place of work that has been a refreshing change for him, and for us as a family. (Plus now he brings home really cool wood and makes things out of it.)

*My oldest turned 16! And got his learner’s permit! Want to feel completely powerless? Be a passenger in a vehicle where your oldest child is driving YOU for the first time. We’ve been cursed at, almost rear ended, had a line of traffic behind us multiple times, and passed in dangerous ways about every time we venture out. Fun times.

*We are experiencing our very last year in elementary school. We have loved it there, but I’m certain my littler guys are ready to move on. Me too.

*My daughter and I took a day trip to New York City. It was the first time her and I did something like that. Though it rained a good part of the day, we still had fun and got to see many neat things.

*We had a couple day excursion to the Jim Thorpe area. It was a good way to wrap up the summer all together.

Some things we are looking forward to:

*A vacation out west. Yup, this is my main one. This has been on our family bucket list for years and we decided that this is the year to just do it! The plan is to fly (instead of driving many days cross country), rent a vehicle, and spend most of our time near Zion National Park. We also plan to visit the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Parks, plus maybe a couple of other things. I’m super excited!!

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*Turning 40. This happens in May. Pray for me. My 20’s were terrific, my 30’s have been great, what will the 40’s bring? Who knows?? I don’t really feel “almost 40″…time flies.

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*Having another driver in the house. It terrifies me a little, yet I am ready for someone else to be able to take on chauffer duties a bit. Even if the oldest just drives himself to work and his own activities, that will help.

*Having kids all on the same bus/school schedule. I’ve had approximately one school year where everyone was in the same building, and that year the twins were in half-day kindergarten, so I still had 3 different bus times to worry about. Since then it’s been 4 different bus times. When they hit middle school this fall, everyone will have the same bus time. I may feel like I’ve gained another hour each day! Woo-hoo!

Well, those are the main things, but really, it’s a lot of little everyday things sometimes, isn’t it? I pray that you will have a blessed 2018, full of lots of those moments that bring joy. May you look forward to what the Lord has in store for you this coming year.

 

 

 

Our Jim Thorpe Getaway

Several weeks ago our family squeezed in a mini vacation. We were looking for something that was just a couple of days, very low key, and not far away. Jim Thorpe was an area we’ve been meaning to explore, so we decided to head there this year. Here are a number of pictures taken while we were there:

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Our first stop was to Hickory Run State Park. One attraction there is this huge boulder field. It’s a great workout to work your way any distance across this jumble of boulders, though I did wonder how many broken ankles and twisted knees it has claimed. Don’t worry, we came through unscathed!

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Our next stop was a hike to Hawk Falls.

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The last thing we did at Hickory Run was a trail called “Shades of Death.” It was my favorite!

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Despite the name, this trail had lots of beautiful sights to behold. It was slightly challenging, but well worth it.

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It was the perfect way to end our adventures at Hickory Run.

After a fast food supper, we stayed overnight at a Holiday Inn Suite. Actually, we stayed both nights there and had a great experience. The free breakfast was probably one of the best I’ve ever had at a hotel. Lots of hot foods and even a pancake machine, which my gang was kind of fascinated with. For this big family, it was well worth it. The free hot breakfast, along with a packed lunch and snacks meant we just had to buy dinner out.

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The next day brought us to the actual town of Jim Thorpe. We first stopped at the Jim Thorpe Memorial, which is where I took this cool statue pic.

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Next we went to town, which is pretty and has plenty of neat architectural building details. There were a bunch of cute little shops and such, but traveling with a pack of boys was not conducive to my checking out “cute” shops. So…we were in the town for maybe 55 minutes and they were itching to leave. Nice, huh? (This Real Family Vacation moment brought to you by the Craig family! You’re welcome.)

Oh well, our next stop was enjoyed by all.

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Our next destination was the No. 9 Coal Mine.

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I was able to get about zero good pictures within the mine, but I can tell you that we all learned a lot and enjoyed our time there. Our tour guide, Larry, was hilarious and made it even better. My take-away was that I would never, ever want to work in a coal mine.

This next picture was from the museum portion of the tour.

I think the sign says a lot, don’t you?

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After the mine we stopped at Lehigh Gorge State Park, which boasts a gorgeous waterfall trail called Onoko Glen Falls. This sign is what we first saw once approaching the trail. A little disconcerting, especially while hiking with kids, but we pressed on.

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Onoko Glen was SO beautiful, though And we didn’t die. Or fall. Or anything like that.

This is a shot looking down some of the falls.

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My photos do absolutely no justice to this place. In person I found it breathtaking.

We wrapped up our day by stopping at a Butterfly Sanctuary and eating at a fabulous Italian restaurant. The third day we were planning to drive to Ricketts Glen State Park and do some hiking and exploring, then head home in the late afternoon/evening. However, a very ugly forecast (which included extreme thunderstorms/hail/etc.) for the whole area convinced us to pack it in and head home early.

Well, that’s it for this trip. Next year we seriously hope to travel out west, specifically looking at Zion National Park and a few others in that vicinity. I am super excited for this to possibly finally happen!

Dear Kiddos…

Dear Kiddos,
We are only a couple of days away from a brand new school year. Are you excited?!? I kind of am, though a quiet house will take some getting used to again. I enjoy it, but boy am I glad to see that bus roll up in the afternoons! It’s not the same without you here.
I can’t believe you’re all as old and as big as you all are. I am blown away that this will be the last year our family will have kids in elementary school… AND that we have not one, but TWO in high school!! And yes, once again I am writing you a letter to prep you for a new school year. Bear with me please. I’ll keep it short and sweet this time.

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First, I’d like to remind you to be kind and respectful to each one of your teachers. There will be some that you love and some that probably won’t be your favorites. You know this already. Each one is to be treated with the utmost kindness and respect. Teachers have one heck of a tough job these days, so please do your best to brighten their day. Look for ways to help them out in any way you can. You have no idea what a big influence you may have on them!
Try your absolute best, even if you have a subject that doesn’t come easy for you. We are at the point where you older guys are required to take some subjects that may not be such a piece of cake. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! A teacher would rather you ask for help than see you struggle and not admit that you need a bit of help or need something explained in a different way. Dad and I are always here for you, in whatever way we can assist. Yes, we are old and our school days are long past, but we’re not total dummies either. Please don’t forget that we are always on your team and are cheering you on.
Now onto your classmates. Oh boy, what can I say? Pretty much what I always have, and that is to be a little light to everyone around you. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. It’s very cliché but oh-so-true. Boys, respect the young ladies around you and be good role models. Act like the godly young gentlemen we have strived to raise you to be. Daughter, continue to be a godly young lady. We are SO glad that you all don’t try super hard to “fit in.” It’s not worth it. Be who you are, but more importantly, remember WHOSE you are. No matter what.
You guys are awesome. We are so stinking proud of each one of you. I pray that you will all have a great school year! Dad and I are here for you.
Love you all SO much.
Mom

****To read the letter I have posted the previous two years, click here.