Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moving Day: Phase 1

Today is the 1st phase of our second move of the summer...
we will sleep in our house tonight!

Lots to do... good thing I have such great helpers!

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Good to Be Home...

I missed my kiddos like crazy while I was gone...
...Every moment I wondered what they were doing
I imagined the adventures I was missing...
...What fun they were experiencing without me!

It is GOOD to be home...

40 Hours in Rome...

There is no possible way you can experience Rome in 40 hours, but that is what I got... and I am amazed at the overview I got of this ancient city. I have always dreamed of visiting Rome... the history is rich as well as the colors, architecture, and art!
Being in the city was overwhelming... I thought about Peter and Paul and the followers of Jesus who where killed through out the city and how the faith of those who believed spread through out the world... I thought about artists, philosophers ... all that had happened far below the streets I walked upon. I would love to visit Rome again... (next time with Micah... for sure!)
A few hours after we landed in Rome, got to our hotel, freshened up... we were ready to venture out on the city streets. The three of us were excited... anxious to soak up all we could!
The first night we were able to walk the streets, gaze at the architecture,
and take millions of pictures.
The Spanish Steps was our first stop... I should have taken pictures of the steps, but I couldn't because it was packed with people...
After our dinner we passed by again and at the bottom of the steps was an opera performance... it was magical! Somehow Opera sounds different in Rome... I could have listened all night!
Next to the steps, tucked behinds some buildings we found this little restaurant. Our leader had been told it was an amazing place... and it was.
I had a glass of the most amazing wine... EVER... I think you could have served me house wine and I would have been intoxicated... somehow the thought of drinking wine in Rome romances all of my senses!
After dinner and the opera we walked to the Trevi Fountain. There were lots of lovers kissing and gazing into each others' eyes... making wishes and tossing coins over their shoulders... I missed Micah... we would have been doing the same thing!
The first evening was full and beautiful...
The next morning we woke up bright and early and before we hit the streets...
We ate breakfast on the roof... ever since watching Return to Me - I have wanted to sit on top of an Italian Villa and eat breakfast... this was sort of like that! I was in love!
After shopping with the girls for a bit we met up with our group and headed to the Colosseum.
We had a 3 hour tour of the Colosseum,
the arch of Constantine,
Palatine Hill and all the ruins in that area. It was FASCINATING!
We had the most fabulous tour guide who knew a ton of history... I wish I had a pen and paper - I would have taken notes.
After lunch we raced over to the Vatican. I made the mistake of wearing a tank top... and in order to get into the Sistine Chapel you have to have your shoulders covered... I was forced to buy a 4 euro scarf for a souvenir... so if you go there remember your scarf!
We didn't have any time at all to explore the Vatican... there was too little time and too much to see. I would love to spend more time there...
Most of what I saw looked like this! Because we raced through the chapels to get to the Sistine Chapel... I was not about to miss that!
I got goosebumps as I stepped into the chapel... I wished I would have listened a little bit more in my art history class... it was fabulous. After I clicked this pictured I was informed by a tall, dark and handsome guard that there are to be no photos... hum...
We were only there for seconds of time and then we raced across the city for a Segway tour. This is the way to do it... you can see a lot, quickly while having a LOT OF FUN!
For the next couple hours we whizzed through the city seeing things we had already seen and some things we hadn't seen.
Those little machines are incredibly fun!
I even got to see the Aubrey monument as I call it... (from Roman Holiday)!
The men on our trip were fun ... touring the city with them was a blast and a gift. I am thankful God gave us an opportunity to serve along side of them... over the meals we were able to debrief a bit about our trip.
This trip was a gift to me. I experienced more fellowship in these 12 days then I had in years. I laughed, cried, was completely - totally goofy and just allowed God's love and grace to wash over my broken heart and soul.
Rome was icing on the cake... a blessing beyond belief - 40 hours of pure enjoyment and delight! Any more time there would have been too rich (maybe... I say that with a tad bit reservation)!
I am so thankful I was able to experience this whole trip with Lori and Kasie... I learned a ton from them and with them. We had to talk through hard things, pray through struggles, and have millions of bonding moments... I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review of Moldova...

I am back from Moldova... after a crazy, wild 12 day journey! What an adventure... I am still processing all that I saw, thought, and felt.
I am thankful that I got to be a part of this experience.
Here are some randomly written thoughts about my trip.
We met up with our team in Moldova after being delayed by mechanical issues, missing our flight, and spending the first night in a fancy hotel with food vouchers. We didn't know what to expect and were completely delighted to discover that our team was AWESOME... (it truly was the best part about the trip). We worked so well together and had a lot of fun in the process! I miss the team already!
The country of Moldova is beautiful... hot and humid... but covered with green, flowers and rolling hills of different crops!
One of the most common crop was sunflowers! It was the most beautiful thing... ever. I have always loved sunflowers and seeing a sea of them was incredible!
Such a happy flower!
We spent the first week at a little camp out in the country. There were rows of these cute little houses, a dining hall, shower hall (with only cold water), and a swimming pool. It was a fun little camp...
These were our bathrooms for the week... I just had to share a picture with you - because it was definitely interesting... that is for sure!
The kids were amazing... the language barrier didn't seem to be such a big deal by the end of the week... but at first it was challenging. Russian is a hard language... I didn't pick it up as quickly as my team member did!!
We played with the kiddos all week. My favorite time was playing with them in the pool... they loved being thrown up into the air... and riding piggy back. We found that those time of playing in the pool really broke the ice...
It was a blessing to watch the kids open up... and smile.
They were such beautiful children... I pray the seeds of God's love that were planted will grow!
Kasie, Lori and I really had a great time together! It was fun working with them and getting to know them a bit better! They were fantastic with the kids - the kids loved them!
The three of us really connected with the girls by painting their nails, doing crafts with them and teaching them how to make necklaces and bracelets.

It truly was a special week... but I sure missed my family...
And it sure felt good to come home!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Best 4th Ever...

We started out the 4th with a hike up Hyalite Canyon... love that place... it is so beautiful. Our friends came with us and it was so fun to see each of them loving on the kids. We love this!
We hiked up to Palisade Falls... we hiked there last fall and so we knew it was a good hike for the kids. They both hiked the whole way and played like crazy when we were at the falls.
They both went crazy on the rocks... climbing, exploring and getting all that extra energy out!
It was a warm day, but by the falls it was nice and cool. We stayed there a long time!
It was so fun exploring nature... looking at flowers, teaching Ethan their names... finding mushrooms... and seeing different birds and bugs...
After the hike we drove down to the lake and had a picnic lunch. Sandra, a former MWSB student and the first missionary of CTM went with us and it was her FIRST picnic ever... how cool is that! The kids went wild in the water... of course... right?
After we got home from the mountains... the kids took a long nap... which was wonderful because after they woke up we went on our second picnic! We found a central park and there were fireworks all around us... it was FABULOUS! The clouds were incredible... I have never seen clouds quite like that! We lit sparklers and when it got dark we headed up to Snob Hill... it overlooks the city and the VIEW was incredible... there were huge fireworks going off all over the city. It looked like a sea of color and lights. It was FABULOUS (did I say that already?)!
There is something amazing about fireworks... the explosion of color... the thrill of waiting and wondering what the next one looks like. I have such wonderful childhood memories of watching fireworks and I was so glad that my kids got to experience such a perfect 4th of July...
It was a fabulous day... so thankful for the time with family and dear friends!