Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Vacation, Part 3

After the reunion in Glenwood Springs, we headed over to Fort Collins to spend a few days with family there.  On our way, we drove over Loveland Pass.  It was beautiful up there.

Snow in the mountains.

We saw several little waterfalls and streams created by snow runoff.  Some of them had frozen again after they started running, which created lovely ice crystals and formations.

Peter, trying out the doggie door at my aunt and uncle's house.

The dog was not quite sure what to make of this.

Four-generation pictures.

Grandma's whole family.

Look who we found in Colorado!  These friends from church happened to be in Fort Collins at the same time we were, so we met at the park for a picnic lunch.

Homeward bound.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Vacation, Part 2

The next major part of our trip was a reunion with Mama's side of the family.  This reunion included some family members that we hadn't seen in several years, and a few that we had never met, so it was good to be able to catch up and spend time with each other.

We stayed in some condominiums nestled in the mountains near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, so we were able to enjoy some beautiful scenery.

Evening light.

This was one of the most active hummingbird feeders I'd ever seen.  Sometimes there were half a dozen birds vying for the three feeding stations!

Becca and Laura enjoyed the cozy little loft in our condo.

So did Peter!

Grandmother, meeting her newest great-grandchild (James).

Several of us hiked to the top of the mountain.  Going from 8200 feet to 9900 feet was a bit taxing for those of us who live at 50 feet above sea level, but it was definitely worth it!

Up we go!

Looking back.

From the top.

Down again.

Fun with bubbles.

Bubble wars!

Peter the cool.


One of many intense foosball games.


Happy boy.

Playing mancala.

Singing songs of worship together.


Amelia and Peter, ready for a walk.

Monday, June 11, 2012

June Newsletter

Editor’s note: Our three families took trips last month which included converging in Colorado for a reunion on Memorial Day weekend with Judith’s extended family in Glenwood Springs and for one evening with Gerald’s extended family in Fort Collins.  Katie’s family flew to see Ray’s side of the family in Washington and then to see Katie’s side of the family in Colorado.  John’s family drove just to Colorado with a few quick stops along the way.  Our family of six drove to San Diego, then to Colorado, and then home.

From Laura, 13 … We saw all of our cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents on both sides.  One part of the trip that I enjoyed was the reunion on Mama’s side.  It was at a lodge a few miles from Glenwood Springs, which is a little town in the Colorado mountains.  There was beautiful scenery -- right outside our condo we could see the beauty of the mountains.  We got to hike up the mountain, climbing 1700 feet!  Going up required many rests, and going down, to quote my cousin, involved “having your toes smashed into the front of your shoes for half an hour.”  It was a really neat climb though.  We also had very pleasant weather, which is hard to imagine when it’s in the nineties here!

From Becca, 15 … One of the things I enjoyed about our trip was seeing how the scenery changed as we drove across several states.  We drove through hilly areas, deserts, canyons, and mountains.  We saw many kinds of mountains, from the green and white Rockies, to the brown mountains in the desert.  We saw many kinds of vegetation, including pine and aspen forests in the mountains, palm trees and tropical plants in San Diego, and tumbleweed and cacti in the desert.

From Seth, 19 … Before we left on our trip, I worked for a week helping a surveying firm gather data for a topographic map.  I was hired by the firm as a rodman, who basically holds a prism pole or a giant ruler on certain points on the earth in order for the instrument man to take laser measurements or elevation readings of those points.  Those measurements are then used to produce a survey of the property.  The survey is usually used for definitional purposes in a real estate transaction or for informational purposes in construction.  Right now I am working for that surveying firm during the day and taking a six-week, surveying-calculations course at a community college during the evening.

From Anna, 22 … Something that I’ve noticed over the last few years in the course of our various travels is the way different cities each have their own unique feel in terms of layout and architecture.  Some cities have residential and commercial areas mixed together, while others have them almost completely separated.  Houston has a lot of open spaces between developed areas, but other cities we’ve been to, such as San Diego, are much more closely packed.  Certain architectural styles tend to predominate in certain areas, as well as certain kinds of plants, which also contribute to a unique feel.  It’s interesting to think about the variety of environmental, historical, and cultural forces that have shaped certain cities.

About John, Megan,and James … (by Judith) The trip to Colorado was the first long road trip for John’s family and they all did well.  The primary purpose was to visit friends and relatives, but they also did a little bit of sightseeing.  Upon their arrival home they celebrated their first year of marriage with some special times together.  They have settled well into their life together in the Lord and find their joy in him.  James is two and a half months old, is filling out nicely, and is becoming more and more engaging with his expressions.

From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel, and baby-on-the-way (by Katie) We traveled to Washington this past month to see Ray’s family, then went on to Colorado to see my extended family.  Other than getting sick part way through, and having bad experiences with our flights, it was a good trip.  We got to catch up with lots of relatives, and see beautiful parts of the country.  Peter got a bit confused with all the grandmas he encountered, I think!  One of the more memorable moments of our trip was going on a drive up into the mountains in Colorado and encountering a snowstorm.  It was fun to get to see snow falling, even if it did mean it was very cold and windy and the road was closed.  Another fun experience was celebrating Samuel’s first birthday with Ray’s family.  Samuel got most excited about the candle and the wrapping paper.  It’s hard to believe he’s a year old already!

From Judith … Having four people to drive sure makes a difference on a long road trip!  Seth’s driving isn’t scary very often anymore, so we can actually relax and do other things while he’s driving.  Some day when it’s just Gerald and me, we’ll probably be switching every hour (for me) or two (for Gerald) because that’s about how long we last before we get too sleepy.  Perhaps we’ll go back to having the non-driver read aloud an exciting novel to keep the driver awake, something we did routinely years ago.  At any rate, we’re grateful to God for his provision which enables us to visit our loved ones around the country.  We feel much more connected with physical visits then we do with just letters and phone calls.

From Gerald … We enjoyed spending time with so many different people on our vacation, but it also feels good to be home again after more than 4000 miles on the road.  One thing no one else has mentioned is that we were able to spend a few hours at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on our way from California to Colorado.  It is much different from the South Rim even though the two rims are only ten miles apart as the crow flies.  The North Rim is about 1000 feet higher in elevation and is much more forested than I remember the South Rim.  We were able to do a little bit of hiking and really enjoyed the scenery. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Vacation, Part 1

Our summer vacation this year was scheduled around several family visits: a couple of days with Grandpa and his wife in San Diego, a reunion with Mama's mother, siblings, and their families in the mountains of Colorado, and a visit with Papa's family in Fort Collins, Colorado.  We enjoyed the chance to spend time with different relatives, some of whom we hadn't seen in quite a while.  We also managed to fit in a bit of sightseeing.

This swallow's nest was outside our hotel room the first night.

California is very protective of their citrus, so they have agricultural checkpoints at the state border to make sure no one brings potentially diseased citrus across.  We hadn't realized this before we left home, so we were carrying four or five days' worth of oranges with us.  Thankfully, they told us that we could keep the oranges if we peeled and sectioned them and gave them the peels.  So we pulled the van over, piled out, and started peeling!

The latest addition to Grandpa's gun collection.

Trying out the massage chairs.

We stayed just a few miles from the border, so one morning we drove over to look at the fence.  It was interesting to see in person what I've heard and read about, and to see how close the city was on both sides of the fence. 

Coronado Bridge, which connects the mainland to Coronado Island.  There was a sign at each end of the bridge with a phone number for a suicide counseling hotline.  It makes me wonder how many people have tried to jump off.

Coronado beach.

Racing on the beach.

Waiting for waves.

Enjoying the sand.

We weren't sure what this little creature was, but there was definitely something alive in there!

There is a navy base on Coronado, so we saw several military helicopters fly overhead.


On our way from California to Colorado, we stopped at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We had been to the South Rim in 2004, but this was our first time to the North Rim.  The North Rim is about 1000 feet higher in elevation than the South Rim, which means that it is more forested.  It also means that there are places where you can see well beyond the South Rim to the plains.  The North Rim is also less developed and more rustic, which we enjoyed.

The South Rim and beyond.

We weren't at the canyon long, so we didn't have time to do a lot of hiking, but we did walk a little ways down the trail into the canyon. 

This was a closet in one of our hotel rooms in Utah.

Canyon view in Eastern Utah.