Monday, August 31, 2009

Smarter than the average bear?

We just spent a most delightful weekend camping in our tent at Jellystone Park, Yogi Bear's version of "roughing it." We made our first attempt at camping last month, and it wasn't entirely successful. We weren't ready to give up after our first try, so we decided to really put our brains to work and make some better choices this time around.

While I'm still a long way from being a camping expert, I feel pretty proud of myself for the wisdom that I have obtained on this subject! One of my main concerns last time around was starving my family, since I didn't know that you could eat anything but hot dogs and marshmallows off of sticks while camping. But, thanks in large part to, I learned about the wonders of the dutch oven, and we were able to try some really fun meals. We learned that taking our bikes with us allowed us to get away from our campsite more. The seminary let us take an ample supply of firewood with us. We slept much more comfortably after borrowing our friends' toasty sleeping bags. And, most importantly, we learned that opting for a family-friendly campground is definitely the way to go for us.

Let me set the scene for this delightful location I found while Googling: Drive less than 30 minutes from your front door. Travel up into the wooded hills, through a brightly colored gate with a sign that says, "Welcome to Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, where families make memories together." Purchase a very reasonably priced "Boo Boo's bracelet" that allows your children unlimited train rides and mini golf, and tokens for the arcade. Spend the night in absolute serene silence, in about 60 degree temperatures. Sit around the campfire sipping hot chocolate until it's time to go wake up Yogi. Eat cinnamon pancakes while watching vintage cartoons under the veranda. Bike ride. Swim. Crafts. Ice cream social. None of us wanted to leave.

Micah's pretty impressed with himself too, since he mastered our new "toy." He documented our entire experience on our "Flip" video camera that was apparently my belated birthday present. Please enjoy his attached handiwork.

All in all, we feel pretty smart this week. We are so thankful for our family, and the time we have to spend together. We wish many blessings to you and yours as well!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lots of firsts!

August has been a whirlwind so far for us. After we recovered from our eventful weekend at the beginning of the month (see previous post), the following weekend we were blessed with a visit from Micah's mom and grandma. It was Micah's mom's third visit here with us, but the first for Gma. We had a wonderful time. It meant the world to Micah that his beloved Gma would make the trip here, and we were sad to see her leave. Micah's mom will be back later this week, and we hope that maybe Gma will come again sometime too.

This past weekend we were treated to our first visit from my parents. It was so nice to see them and give them a picture of our new life here. They got to help us get Jonah ready for his first day of first grade and see him off. The kids really enjoyed having lots of time with Mamo and Papa, and we did too. I just wish the goodbye part wasn't so hard...

On Thursday, we have faith that Micah will pass his Greek qualifier exam and ace his first seminary course. Then we'll get our husband and father back for the first time since we moved here, while we enjoy a two week break before classes start up again.

Monday will be my first day at my new job in the HR department at Lutheran Senior Services. I'm really excited to start working again, especially in a field I love, but I'll miss the kids a lot. They'll be home with Micah during his break, then the little ones will start their new "school" the first week in September.

We're thankful for all of the firsts that we're getting the opportunity to experience, and we're grateful that we get to share so many of them with loved ones.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

First camping trip and first ER visit!

It was an eventful weekend for our family! At 7:00 Saturday morning, we decided to go camping. I had only tent camped in the back yard growing up, and Micah hadn't been camping in years. But, we figured it couldn't be that big of an undertaking, so we threw every camping-related thing we could find in the van, drove to Cabela's and picked up our tent, and off we went. We had fun, but we would do several things differently next time. We're looking forward to our next trip so we can perfect this budget-friendly family outing.

When we got home, we were unloading our stuff, and Joel was riding his trike on the back patio. He tripped while getting off of it and landed head first on the corner of our brick doorway. Micah and I were both standing right inside, and by the time Joel stood up, things weren't looking pretty. After a call to the nurse, we headed to the ER at the childrens' hospital for what we assumed would be a quick glue job.

After we were told that the injury would require a plastic surgeon, we left the other two kids with our wonderful neighbor so Micah and I could be with Joel. Things are done very differently at the childrens' hospital than they were back home. We both actually stood by Joel's bed during the surgery. That was the strangest 15 minutes of my life. We're thankful that we could be with him, but I don't know that I would make that choice again in the future. Nonetheless, the doctors and nurses did a wonderful job and we're very blessed that Joel is as good as new now.

One of the funnier moments of our experience was when the hospital's PR person asked if they could document Joel's visit in an upcoming hospital publication. So, she and the photographer also were in the room for the surgery. When Joel woke up, he looked at the PR person and said, "you have two heads." I'm interested to see what kind of article she comes up with! She said she'd send us the pictures and the magazine for our scrapbook. I'll scan it and share it with all of you!

All in all we're thankful that the weekend turned out as well as it did. There was a high potential for disaster from start to finish, but none of us are much worse for the wear. We hope you and yours had a blessed weekend. Thanks for reading!