Sunday, July 19, 2009

Family reunion!

On Saturday we traveled to my aunt and uncle's home for a family reunion . . . we had about 40 people there, including my grandfather and his sister. This was a special day for me because it was the first time that Lael and Jaden were able to meet these two special people in my life!

In addition, I saw aunts, uncles and cousins that I hadn't seen in probably 10 or 15 years! Wow . . . time sure flies by! My "little" cousins are all grown up and are beautiful young adults who love and serve the Lord; that is such a joy to see! Here are just a few photos from the day:

All in all, this was such a wonderful day, and I'm so thankful that my mom and her siblings were willing to orchestrate all that went into making this reunion a reality!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A day full of "firsts"

As we continued our wonderful New England vacation, we travelled to Maine for what proved to be a day full of "firsts" -- starting with the first time Lael and Jaden ever visited Maine! It was also the first time that any of us had been to "Uncle Furry" and Auntie Kim's house . . . which is so beautiful!

One of the most special parts of this time was the fun we had playing with little Ashley -- Lael and Jaden's cousin . . . how cute is she!
When we got to Uncle Furry and Auntie Kim's house, we headed out to spend the day at the lake. First on the agenda . . . a boat ride (another "first"). Jaden got suited up and was ready to go!
Lael wasn't sure at first about the boat . . . it was going pretty fast and it was hard to keep your eyes open initially.
However, she soon got used to it!
Jaden, on the other hand, had no trouble adjusting! He absolutely loved every bit of it!
After riding for a while, Uncle Furry gave each of the kids another "first" - first time driving a boat! They both did a great job! Jaden really enjoyed having time to hang out with Ashley . . .
. . . as well as with his sister!
Then it was off for yet another "first" -- first time to go fishing!
Fishing takes a lot of patience, as well as the ability to be quiet . . . both things that Lael is very good at.
However, it was Jaden who ended up catching the first fish! (As well as the only fish to be caught by a kid . . . seems that the fish weren't really biting while we were trying to catch them!)
Uncle Furry is an awesome fisherman . . . and even he only caught one fish! Despite our lack of success, it was an awesome experience . . . Jaden got lots of practice casting -- and he "caught" more than a few tree branches in the process!
Finally, it was time for the last "first" of the day . . . a ride with Uncle Furry on the jet ski! Jaden, ever the adventure-seeker, had his ride using the "fast key" -- and loved every minute of it!
Lael, on the other hand, was content with the "slow key" . . . but she also enjoyed the trip!
They even got Mommy and Nana to take rides with Uncle Furry (sorry, no pictures of that particular part of the adventure were available at the time of publication of this blog entry)
It was an amazingly busy, fun-filled, memory-making day! And yes, two little people slept very well that night!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another "first"!

Yet another "cousin" day . . . this time, we spent the day with Auntie and her three children: Kyle, Ryan and Katy. We headed to the beach . . . which was another "first" for Lael and Jaden -- the first time swimming in the ocean. (We've been to the beach many times, but always in the off-season when it's just too cold to swim.)

So we had all kinds of fun climbing over rocks
(New England beaches are often more rocky than they are sandy)

. . . wading in the ocean
(it was a cloudy, cool-ish day so they kept their shorts and t-shirts on for some extra warmth)
. . . looking for crabs
(we found them under almost every rock we moved)

. . . and trying to catch waves with a net (or maybe an unsuspecting sister)
Jaden thought this rock looked like an alligator sticking his nose up out of the water!

We saw lots of periwinkles and barnacles too.
The littlest of the cousins on this trip, Katy was fascinated by all the little stones and shells on the path -- I'm just amazed that her little feet could handle walking on the rough surface (I guess I just have tender feet!)
Isn't she a cutie!
We enjoyed a picnic lunch -- playing in the ocean works up quite an appetite! Then it was back to Auntie's house for some playtime -- dress-up, GeoTracks, and just hanging out together!
Finally everyone plopped on the couch to watch some LarryBoy cartoons; by that point, they were all worn out!
Lots of fun had by all!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time in Concord

After a good night's sleep and a yummy breakfast, we were off for adventures with Aunt Jennifer, Ava, Bella and Nana. Our first stop was the park, where we could have played for hours!
Jaden was the lone boy of this adventure . . . but that didn't stop him from climbing on absolutely everything he could possibly find!
Here are the three girl cousins (Bella, Lael and Ava) --
can you tell that they are related?
Jaden enjoyed making music here -- he kept trying to figure out how to play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"
Two little monkeys hanging upside down! ;)
He's just happier with his feet off the ground!
After working up quite an appetite, where else would you go but Friendly's? (And yes, we did eat something besides ice cream!)
Back at Aunt Jennifer's, we had time for playing dress-up (the girls were princesses, but Jaden found something he enjoyed more)
playing outside and in -- especially once it got too hot!

It was so wonderful to have more than just a couple of hours of playtime with Ava and Bella! The one thing we missed was seeing Matt (the oldest of all the cousins . . . he was away while we were visiting) -- and we would have enjoyed seeing more of Uncle Eric, but he said he had to go to work! Poor guy . . . he missed out on all the fun!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First flight!

Today was the day we began our exciting journey! This was the first time either Lael or Jaden had flown on an airplane! (Okay, so that's not entirely correct -- Lael flew to England with us when she was 18 months old, but she didn't remember that trip!)

We had SUCH a great time! The kids enjoyed every moment of the day! Some of the highlights were:

  • getting to sit in the plane's cockpit
  • seeing Lake Erie as we circled Cleveland Airport
  • walking on the moving sidewalks (once we got over the initial fear of stepping on them!)
  • pulling fun activities out of Mommy's backpack
  • watching for our suitcase at the baggage claim area
  • playing hide-and-seek with other young travelers in Cleveland during our layover
  • seeing Aunt Jennifer when she came to pick us up at the airport

Probably the only thing we didn't enjoy was the three hour layover in Cleveland before continuing on to New Hampshire (at least Mommy thought it was a long three hours!) But all in all it was a fantastic start to our vacation in New England!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tomorrow's the day!

Lael, Jaden and I are embarking on an adventure tomorrow . . . we are heading to New England for a week to visit Nana and Papa -- along with aunts, uncles and cousins galore!

Nana sent us a count-down chain to help us with the building anticipation . . . but it was too pretty to tear off a link each day, so we just moved a clothespin -- besides, then we could see how many days had already passed as well as how many were still to go!
The tag on the final link reads as follows:
Stay tuned for more of our travel adventures -- there will be LOTS of "firsts"!

Friday, July 10, 2009

10 years ago . . .

. . . a young woman and a young man
became one in marriage!
Here's a peek into my journal . . . dated July 10, 1999:

Yay! It's finally here! I can't believe it! I'm so excited, yet so calm. I am eagerly anticipating what today holds, yet feeling like I'm living someone else's life. But it's true . . . I am marrying the love of my life today - my friend, confidante, buddy - my life's partner. I don't want to go another minute of my life alone; I know for me what the Bible says is true: It's not good for man (or woman) to be alone. . . .

Father God, I love You! And I love this gift You have given me to treasure! Today I celebrate Your work!

And ten years later, the celebration continues!

Happy 10th anniversary, Brent! I'm so glad that God chose us for each other!

There's no one else I'd rather walk through life with!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mission-Minded Kids Rally

Not sure how I forgot about this, but back in March Lael and Jaden attended our denomination's Missions-Minded Kids rally along with two other children from our church. It was a FABULOUS day that really served to emphasize the importance of missions and the needs around the world.

Throughout the day they experienced the challenges of learning a new language (Chinese), tried new foods, dressed in traditional Arabic clothing -- and through it all were reminded that God loves ALL the people of the world!