Thursday, August 5, 2010


On our way to PA we spent a great two weeks in WI with Grandma Gile, AKA Gagee. Gagee has a small cottage on a lake in northern WI with a water trampoline, boat for skiing, fishing poles, dock, kayaks, rafts and more. ALWAYS something to do. I am not much of a lake fan. The brown water gives me the heebee jeebbees (is that a word?). But, Dog lake, as it is called, is quiet and peaceful and I enjoy my time there so much. Not to mention the fact that there has been a bald eagle flying overhead!

Pooh posing!

Toley and Pooh and their sweet smiles

We spent a week there enjoying the sun, fun and family. Unkey Lanny (dad's brother) was also there for part of the time and the kids always enjoy his company. He makes them laugh and is always up for a game or a ride in the boat. He is a great cook. He uses only local and organic ingredient, something that is near and dear to my heart, and puts them together well. Kik was his biggest fan, as Unkey Lanny would cook him breakfast every day. His favorite being Unkey Lanny's cilantro pesto!

While at the lake we had some celebrations. Dad has his birthday and we (mom and dad) celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary!! Dad surprised mom with a day at the spa together and it was wonderful. After that Unkey Lanny planned a wonderful dinner at the restaurant where he works. We had a special table, menu, champagne, flowers and food! It was awesome and it was the perfect ending to a very special day. 20 years together, the best 20 years of my life.

Mr. Fire!

After the lake we headed down to Appleton to enjoy another week at Gagee's house. Z-man had a soccer tourney in Appleton at the end of the week. It was nice that he continued to play with his team. They made it to the finals, but lost. It was a tough loss too, but they played well.

We left with heavy hearts as before this long trip we were only 3 1/2 hours from Gagee and saw her often. Now we will be 12 and we will be seeing her less and less. We hope she will make some visits to our new home! The kids sure do love hanging out with her. We are grateful for skype.

Next stop: Pennsylvania or bust!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back home to Marquette

We have come full circle. We started our trip on Aug 1st 2009 in Marquette MI and have nearly come to the end back in Marquette (MQT).

We arrived on a beautiful sunny day, in the 70's and it took our breath away. Little did we know it would be about the only nice day we had! LOTS of rain in June this year. But, we weren't there for the weather, we were there to see our family, the people that make up our family when we are away from our real family. The last 3 years of our military career were spent in MQT and we all had a wonderful time. We all made some lifelong friends and I know that we will continue to make an effort to visit for many, many years to come.

Isaac and Mr. Newman. They were buds and had a lot of fun together.

We stayed at our dear friends the Newman's. We failed to get any pictures of the adults with each other! UGH! Even after spending three weeks there. So sad! But we did manage to acquire 2 little kittens from the Newman's, so that will have to do.

Mickey the mamma nursing the two kitten we took. So far we think their names are Yooper (the gray one), and Pfeffer (the white and striped one). Both boys and both soooo adorable!

Lara holding Pfeffer in her pocket. SOO CUTE!

The Newman's are great. They allowed us to move right into their lake house that overlooks lake Superior. What a beautiful sight, especially for the sunrise at 5 something. Suffices to say, I (mom) did not see it more than once :) My early rising husband on the other hand almost never missed it. The Newman's made us all feel at home and we will miss laughing and enjoying their family on a regular basis. We also spent some time at their cabin on a smaller lake in the area. It is so peaceful and quiet, even if it did rain most of the time! But there was plenty of fun to be had!
The first ones to try out the newly build pontoon at the Newman's cabin. Rainy, but loads of fun.

While there we had planned on seeing a lot of sights and doing some hiking to places we failed to visit while we lived there. But............none of that happened. We just spent time with the people we love.

Z-man has a group of friends he spent nearly every night with, played soccer with his old team (including two tournaments) and enjoyed seeing other friends from church and our homeschool group

Toley and Pooh spent many days with different friends, sleeping over, playing, swimming and crafting.

Toley, Brianna, Megan and Pooh

Kik got to see his teachers Aide from last year. He was so excited. Not to mention all his time in the water and playing on the Newman's swing.

Dad spent his time with friends from NMU and friends from church. He was busy riding his bike in all his old places and even did a road bike race. We also had an opportunity to go kayaking with Dave and Susan Michels on lake Superior before we left. It was a sunny day, a bit windy, but so neat to see MQT from the water!

Dad leading the race! WAHOO!!

Mom spent many days with friends over coffee, homeschool friends chatting while the kids played and lunch with my dear friend Susan. I will miss our talks.

We all enjoyed going back to our church for 4 Sundays! It will be hard to match Bethel when we leave. They have set the bar high. But I am sure God will put us in the right spot.

The highlight was that the whole family got to participate in VBS at church! Kik actually got to go while the other 5 worked. Dad and Z did the games, Pooh was a teachers helper with a group of 8 and Toley and Mom did hair and face painting. We all had so much fun and it was so nice to be able to volunteer our time.
We left at the end of June and headed down to WI to visit Grandma! We spent 2 weeks with dad's mom and had a great time. Hopefully someone will write about that soon!!!! hint hint!!

Butterfly picture by Pooh.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Acadia National Park

After an awesome trip to Canada, we crossed the border, got our trailer and headed to Acadia National Park. What a beautiful place!!! We did some great hiking, sightseeing and eating!

The picture at the top of our blog was taken there, after a hike up the rocks.

This is a must see for all your northeasteners. It is not a very challenging or huge National Park like the ones out west. It is rather small, but packs an enormous view of the Atlantic and the little islands right off the coast. SOOOO beautiful, as you can see from the pictures.

We even splurged and at lunch at Jordan Pond restaurant. It is a very fancy little place located right in the park. It is known for it's turnovers and of course I had to try the Lobster stew! Amazing!!!

Thunder rock. The waves come in and it sounds like thunder in this cave. VERY COOL!

There isn't much more to write as the pictures say it all!

Bar Harbor Maine is a pretty fancy and beautiful place!

XO Mom

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nova Scotia and Prine Edward Island

We left our trailer in Maine and traveled over the boarder into New Brunswick to catch the ferry that would take us to Nova Scotia on: Thursday, May 20th 2010 at 7:30am! Just…so you know.
The Princess of Acadia ferry it was called. The boat left at… noon and we got there around 3:00. It was really neat. It had a little gift shop, a cafeteria, a lounge, tables and chairs, and…a Starbucks! Can’t get much better than that, it was SO cool! I can’t even imagine what cruise ships must look like. We sailed for about 3 hours and it was fun. We ate lunch, did some school (well, that part wasn’t exactly what you call FUN, per se).

We said goodbye to the fun ferry ride and all got into our crammed suburban to drive a couple hours to where we were staying. Daddy told us, on the way there, that it was only $60.00 a night! Fortunately it was okay. It was a little cabin, by a lake, with two bedrooms (Z man and Kik slept on the pull-out couch) a kitchen, bathroom, and a living room.

Oh and I guess I should tell you that on the boat we took out the camera to take some pictures and we realized we left the battery at home, sitting in the charger. We were all upset, but we managed to take a few pictures with Daddy’s iPhone and a little disposable camera Mommy bought. So while Mommy cooked taco’s , Z-man, Kik, Toley and I all got into a very bug infested paddle boat and tried to go…somewhere. We didn’t make it very far, just a few feet, than gave up. The bugs were just crazy. We had a cozy night at the cabin and enjoyed sounds of the lake in the morning.
The next day we all got up, swept, cleaned, and mopped the house (you have to do that in order to stay at the place) and started our drive to P.E.I. We drove uhh…I don’t really remember, a long time to the hotel house cabin thingy where we were staying. On the way, we stopped at a few places to take in the sights of Nova Scotia. We even went to a beach to play in the sand, go to the bathroom (in the bathhouse!) and skip flat rocks; which were everywhere. I got a grand total of 2 skips, that’s what I normally get. Z got like 8 or something. Like always. The water was freezing, so we didn't do too much swimming.

SO! We drove to the hotel and we stayed in a little house right next to it. It had two bedrooms, one with two full size bed for the kids and one with a queen bed for mom and dad. It also had a kitchen, dining room table, a couch and some chairs, a TV (that actually worked!) and a bathroom, with a Jacuzzi tub too! The next day Daddy, Z-man, Toley, and I went to the hotel for the continental breakfast. It was pretty good too! Cereal, toast, bagels, oatmeal, hot chocolate, coffee, and these huge chocolate and lemon poppy seed muffins. They were great!

We then left and drove about 10 min. to some places to shop, and then on to Lucy Maude Montgomery’s house (the author of Anne of Green Gables). Everybody except Kik, and Daddy got to take a tour of it. They had some really neat things around the house. There was original furniture, pictures and all her books. They also had some things she said up on the walls in frames.

We then walked around Charlotte town, and went into a bunch of shops: Anne of Green Gables souvenirs, Anne of Green Gables chocolate store, a food store, the mall, yea things like that. Since I dislike shopping very much, it was pretty boring to me. But the chocolate store was pretty good. :)

Next we walked around the wharf (wharfing as Daddy called it) then headed home. It was a very busy and tiring, but fun, day. I loved the scenery on the way there and back!

Sometime in-between there, we went to another Anne of Green Gables site. This one is a little town built with all the buildings you would see in the Anne of Green Gables movies. We were there in June, so unfortunately it was all closed up. Their winter season ends July 1st. It was still neat to see. It had the Avonlea school, dress-up place, picture place, the church, and farm. We got to walk around but I wish we were there when it was running. We even took a great picture of all of us with Anne HA!

So we went home, had spaghetti, ice cream and watched Star Wars. We got up early to head home the next day. On the way to the bridge, which was huge by the way. It is 8 miles long and it is free to get over to P.E.I, but cost $41 to get back!! I am not kidding. Anyway, we decided to stop at a little touristy spot to do some last minute souvenir shopping. We got some Anne of Green Gables things, Toley got a cool P.E.I sweatshirt and Z-man got a couple of post cards and a crazy sign you will have to ask him about. It was nice to have a few things to remember P.E.I by, since we have like NO pictures!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Boston, Vermont and New Hampshire and finally MAINE!

After leaving Jersey we started our trek up north. There were a few of us who have never been to VT or NH and all of us have never been to Maine, so we had to make our way up there. BUT, there are many awesome places along the way and the first one was to Boston.

If you are a history buff like I am, Boston is full of it and a must see. They have a great Iphone app. too that you can download. It takes you on a historic tour of the city during the Revolutionary War time. There are short notes on each spot you stop to see and of course lots to read about at each spot. We began our journey at Paul Revere's home and meandered down the city streets seeing cemeteries, government buildings, Fanel Hall, and then ended at Bunker Hill. All of it was WAY cool. We had done a big US history year about 3 years ago, so we did know some things. It was nice to see the real thing from our studies as well as learn some new stuff too.

Next we drove up to NH and VT and then back through NH toward ME. Although we didn't do a whole lot it either state, we did enjoy the beautiful views of both states. The rolling hills are breathtaking with all the greenery. We decided that while we were in NH we should ALL walk part of the Appalachian Trail. Kik especially wanted to get out there with his backpack, water bottle and walking stick. So we parked our car, that was making some funny noises and walked for about an hour or so. It was a gorgeous dense forest with lots of rocks to tackle and trails that were twisty and bumpy.

We spent an extra 2 days in VT getting the back of our car fixed, but I will let dad tell that story :) We are thankful to God for letting it be nothing too serious and for allowing us to continue to have a reliable car even if it has 160,000 miles on it! WE LOVE YOU SUBURBAN!!

We crossed the border into ME on a cold and rainy afternoon. We were all excited. It was our last state! Yes we had missed a few along the way on this trip, but this was the last state that no one had been to (except HI - only three of us have made it there). Even though the weather was dreary, it was another beautiful place. We stayed for a day and then parked the trailer and headed for Canada! That is another blog as if our visit to Acadia National Park - AMAZING!

Sorry this is short, but I wanted to get something written.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jersey Family

Now we’re going to skip back to before the Roberts to Maryland where we visited mom’s youngest brother and his family. We always love to visit them and play with our two adorable cousins Ani and Hudson, oh, and Shelby, their wonderful dog.

While we were there, Ani had lacrosse and Hudson had a t-ball game so we had a great time watching them. Mommy and Daddy drove up to PA to go house-shopping (that’s another blog) while Aunt Keri and Unkey Russ let us kids stay with them. Hudson had piano lessons and Aunt Keri even got us set up with lessons from Mrs. Gloria, which was much needed for our rusty fingers!

Abby, Toley and Katie

Pooh and I had so much fun with Ani, reading, playing dress-up and doing crafts. Isaac, Zach and Huddy had fun together too, hanging out in the basement and playing with cars & trucks. Mommy and Daddy came back and we left the next day for the Roberts but looking forward to seeing each other for Mother’s Day a couple weeks later.

Happy 13th birthday pooh!!!

After the Roberts, which was fun too, we headed to ReRe and PopPop’s house in New Jersey to celebrate Pooh’s 13th birthday with a stripes themed party (Pooh loves stripes). Aunt Julie, Abby and Katie got to come join the fun as well! We missed Unkey Jeff at this visit, but he was there in spirit!
Aunt Keri and daddy talking running - AGAIN!

For Mother’s Day the 16 of us met at ReRe and PopPop’s beach house, plus Aunt Keri’s parents got to come too. Bringing the grand total to 8 kids, 10 grown-ups and 2 dogs in one house (it was tons of fun :)

Mother’s Day Eve we headed to the beach, Unkey Russ and Hudson with fishing poles. It was way to cold to go swimming, but we splashed in the waves and had fun anyway.

Kik and Ani searching for shells while Hudson gets a lesson from his daddy.

ReRe and mom hanging on the beach! It was a beautiful day.

We had a great Mother’s Day with Mrs. Sellerberg’s famous cream puffs, lots of presents, a cake made by ReRe, and the five girl cousins doing a dance for the moms. Slowly everyone left till it was only ReRe, PopPop and our family left. It was so quiet, but still nice. We got to hang out with ReRe and PopPop by ourselves, which is a rare treat. But we still missed our cousins!
We then went back to their other house for a while before we headed up north for the last 2 weeks of our journey, leaving our beloved dog in the loving care of ReRe and PopPop for a couple weeks. We will miss him, but we know that PopPop will take him for lots of walks and ReRe will love him almost as much as we do! But I’ll let Z-man tell you about all our trip up north, beginning with Boston.

Unkey Jeff and Abby.

Lastly, but not least was a short visit to see the Bennett's. They are mom's oldest friends. They have the honor (well, I guess that depends on who you talk to) of watching our best kitty, Tigger. We miss him terribly, but they and their 4 boys are doing a great job taking care of him. He is a social cat and the whole neighborhood has adopted him. We are feeling a bit guilty about coming to take him away in July. We SO appreciate all the love he has been given. Tigger and the Bennett's cat Ricki have become fast, fighting friends and we hope they both aren't too sad to separate.

Ta Ta for now.............Toley

Friday, May 21, 2010

Long time friends

I am not going to ask if you can stand another blog about friends because I am going to write about them anyway :)

After leaving SC we headed to NC to visit my roommate Lisa and her family. The funny part of this story is that when Lisa and I were roommates in college, I was dating Todd and he was living next door to a former classmate of his Kevin. We decided they would make a good match and set them up. we are 20+ years later and they are married with three kids. It was great to be able to have that much history together. There are so many memories.

Not only that our kids seem to get along great as well, even though we have only seen them three times since the kids were born. We both have girls the same ages and they hung out together like they have known each other all their lives. Toley and Mary Kathryn are in the same grade, as are Pooh and Sarah. It was great fun. Lisa and Kevin's daughters even teased and joked with Z-man like he was their brother. And then there are the two little................lets call them balls of energy..........that we each have.
Joshua and Kik were two peas in a pod. Their ages differences were vast, but man did they have fun together. Kik had an opportunity to be a big brother to Joshua. He didn't do the greatest job, but it was fun watching him try and teaching him some things.

Lisa and I, of course, spent our time chatting and catching up. We have a lot in common and so many memories to discuss. She and Kevin were great hosts, allowing us to park our "home" in front of their beautiful house, and just take over. I had a hard time getting Lisa to let me in the kitchen. She just cooked up a storm and fed all of us with ease. So sweet of her! and yummy too! It was a great visit!

After we left the Lech's we made a few side trips that I am hoping someone will write about SOON! During the first week of May we visited the Roberts. We met Joe and Jen in Germany. They were our neighbors in our tight knit apartment building in Garmisch. We have been friends ever since. They have 7 kids and when we come to visit the house is FULL! But, we all love it. The kids make due with sleeping wherever they can find space and the air is always filled with joy, albeit loud joy! Everyone gets along. This time was no different. Cooking for a large bunch is always on the forefront of our minds and we all spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

The Roberts girls are our girls ages and they have a lot in common. They have a tight bond and I am so grateful for wonderful, lifelong friends. Z-man usually gets involved with all the little boys and is all the better for it. Kik fits in perfect with the Roberts boys, ages 9, 7, 5. He finds a little something in common with each of them and they are wonderful to him. The last two Roberts are sweet Grace and little Ben. They are 3 and 1 and are a precious addition to any of the groups of kids. Here is a silly picture of Pooh, Taylor, Grace, Toley, and Emma enjoying a nice and lumpy rest.

I also had a picture of the adults, but it was taken at about 9:30 PM after a long day and all four of us do not look so, you will have to use your imagination! :)

We usually spend our time baking, hanging outside (the boys looking for anything that creeps and crawls), sightseeing in the DC area and having some light conversations about recipes or friends we have in common OR some deep discussions involving our children or the Bible. There never seems to be a lack of things to discuss. We learn a lot from each other and we are blessed to know them.

Lisa and Jen are such dear friends of mine and it was hard to leave both places. One because they are both so sweet and two because they both STINK at keeping in touch :)

It was hard to leave Lisa because we live so far away and we don't see each other often, so I knew it would be a while until we got a chance again. We didn't get nearly enough chatting time in. And Jen because she and her family are moving to a time zone 10 hours away for two years. It will be difficult not to have Jen around to chat with and get advice and encouragement from.

Again, another blessing on this year long trip. It has been nearly 10 months and my heart is full with all the friends that we have seen. Life is Good, God is good- all the time!

XO Mom