Saturday, July 25, 2009

Road Trip 2009

We are finally home! 
16 days
3000+ miles
7 States (Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota & Wyoming)
4 nights in hotels
2 nights camping (has the ground gotten harder in the last 10 years?!?)
2 National Parks
1 National Monument
3 Junior Ranger programs
2 great kids
1 super duper husband
lots of friends and family
more photos than I'll ever know what to do with!

It was a GREAT trip, but it is ALWAYS good to be home again.

Over the next week, I am going to try my darndest to finish recording each day of our trip.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Joyful, Joyful

Just a quick update to let you know that the road trip is still going good. I haven’t had internet access (nor the time to use it if I did!) for a few days. I had some giveaway posts and a guest post that didn’t go up on their own, but I don’t have the time or the energy now to figure out why and re-post them. I’ll try to get to the last week of our trip and those posts soon. I did want to get this little bit posted before we leave Minnesota and head towards South Dakota…

We’ve been in Minnesota since last Tuesday, and the weather has been unseasonably cool. I think there was even a day or two where it was a record low for the high (follow that?). Friday, my last day with my friend Krista, was so chilly and overcast that we didn’t go anywhere or do anything during the day. Just let the kids play. Took naps. Just what I needed as I was feeling very introspective and tired from the traveling. Saturday we joined my old college friend Michelle and her family. The weather was still cool and chilly but it fit the day's activities, plus I was still feeling a bit thoughtful.

Then yesterday, Sunday, arrived, and with it beautiful sunshine. I didn’t realize how ready I was for sunshine again. After a very short run, I was welcomed by Kate and Jack running out to greet me. Their faces shining in the sunlight like I haven’t seen (or maybe just noticed?) in awhile. Michelle and family took us to their church service which was held outdoors at Lake Harriet. It was an amazing setting with sailboats calmly floating across the lake and the music carrying across the lawns. I keep saying that if I could attend church in that setting, I would never miss a Sunday! The first hymn, one I’ve known all my life, seemed to renew my spirit on that sunny Sunday. I actually caught myself choking up a bit.

Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee

Joyful, joyful we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love!
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before thee, praising thee, their sun above
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the gloom of doubt away
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day

All thy works with joy surround thee, earth and heav’n reflect thy rays
Stars and angels sing around thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Chanting bird, and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in thee

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother, all who live in love are thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Road Trip - Day 2

Day 2 started with seeing the sites in Gothenburg, Nebraska. Went to the Sod House Museum which the kids really enjoyed. My mom has an old photo of family (one of my great-great grandparents?) in front of their sod house. I need to get a copy of it.
We stopped at the cemetery where my grandparents and great grandparents are buried, then it was off to the Pony Express Station. Couldn't get the kids to pose in front of it, so it is just my mom. The kiddos ran off to the playground.
We made one more stop at a historic site that interested me. The Swedish Crosses Cemetery. It is the grave sites of 3 children all from the same family. The grandfather was the blacksmith in town and made these grave markers.
Then it was back on the highway headed towards Omaha. We drove through my birthplace of Lincoln, and when we got to Omaha, we found a great hotel with a water park. So while my mom went off to dinner with my Great Uncle Fred and Great Aunts Wilma and Alma, I took the kids swimming (we needed to burn some energy... just didn't think the kids could hold still through dinner after sitting in the car all afternoon). We had a fabulous time, and Jack went down a big waterslide for the first time. I'd like to go back and spend a few more days checking out the Omaha sites.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Road Trip - Day 1 Photos

Think how much better these would have been on any other camera that was not a cell phone...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Summer Road Trip - Day 1

From home to Gothenburg, Nebraska
Kate, Jack, my mom, me and more than we need in the car
350+ miles
5+ hours
2 rest stops (the second only about 30 min after the first)
Uncountable hay bales and cows
Visit at my Great Uncle Morris's house
Dinner at my second cousin John's farm
Dessert of Dilly Bars for the kids and fresh picked mulberries over ice cream for the adults
Tractor rides for the kids
Most amazing sunset I've seen in awhile
Forgot my good camera at the hotel, but cell phone pictures to follow soon

Tomorrow's agenda: swimming at the hotel, tour of the Pony Express station, visit to the cemetery where my grandparents are buried, and a long drive to Omaha

Monday, July 06, 2009

Free Vegetarian Times Subscription

I'm always looking for good vegetarian recipes (we aren't vegetarian, but we do try to limit our consumption of meat... heard it called "flexatarian" years ago, and I like the term!) and am hoping to find some good ones with this offer.

Annie's Naturals is offering a free subscription to Vegetarian Times if you purchase either 2 Annie's Naturals products or 1 Annie's product and 1 Earthbound Farm product.  That is easy enough in our house!

Check out this Annie's Naturals site for all the info.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Last Week's Activities

Kate was in cheerleading camp last week and LOVED it.
Before camp started, I felt a little bad that Jack didn't have a special activity also, but it was good to have some time for just the two of us.  He got his own bike last week, so we did a mommy-son run/ride a few times.  I was pretty impressed that he was able to ride a full 3 miles one morning.  It was a pretty slow 3 miles since we had to stop to look at the river, butterflies, roly-polies, rocks, mud, etc.  I've also been informed that Jack's bike rides best "in mud, water, and rocks."

Grocery Alert

Did you see the article from the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) about the Horizon brand beginning to sell milk that isn't organic?  They plan to market it as "natural" and as a lower priced alternative to organic milk.  Just reinforces my commitment to avoiding Horizon products.  I have been avoiding their products already (although admit to sometimes purchasing it when no other organic alternative is available... an action that I am going to re-evaluate) because of the company's reported history of pushing the limits of organic values (like giving cows little to no pasture time).

You can read more about the OCA's boycott here.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

What Is This?

Another busy week!  Lots of activities for the kids and then my friend Jennifer and her little boy Sam were visiting from Dallas.  We should them all the sites... the zoo, Garden of the Gods, the Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs, etc.  We'll be sad to see them leave.

Tonight a friend dropped off their CSA share since he is going to be out of town and can't use it.  I was pretty happy to see the kale, beets, rhubarb, and cilantro, but this veggie has me stumped.  Can anyone tell me what it is?  And then maybe you can also tell me what to do with it?

The mysterious veggie modeled by our friend Sam