Monday, July 28, 2008

Friends from Asia

This weekend, the day we got home from Yellowstone, some friends came into town.  We were longing to see them and despite the laundry, the unpacking, the lack of food in the house, we were so excited that they were here.  They live in Asia, you see.  We met them at the University where we attended - never mind how many years ago.  We traveled with them, celebrated holidays together, enjoyed getting to know another culture.  They are now leading lives very different from our own on the other side of the world, but the definite connection is still there.  In my heart, there is a place for H. and C. and even their kids that can never be filled.  They are like family in a lot of ways.  We had a wonderful weekend with them and their beautiful daughters.  We shared memories, shopped, talked, ate, and attended church together.  The weekend went all too fast and they were gone to their next stop before flying home.  I figured that it was at least 12 years since we had seen them.  That was way too long!!  There were long years where we lost touch, not knowing exactly where they were.  I searched the internet, e-mailed anyone I thought might have contact, but to no avail.  Katrina (the storm) brought us together as H. began searching for news of my family to see how everyone was after the storm. Hopefully, we will see them regularly from now on.  They plan to visit the U.S. more often and we plan to visit their country.  We pray blessings on them and their family as they carry on with their lives.  We send them away again, hoping for time later.  If not here, then in heaven!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Pictures

Just one of the beautiful peaks in the Grand Tetons.

One of the wonderful spots to photograph in Yellowstone.
This is our coyote.  He looked rather gnarly and hungry.  I didn't want to meet him on the road.
The red fox we saw right in the Village near the General Store.
My honey fishing.
Just one of the many elk that we saw.  This was a younger bull, but we saw many with full antlers about 6 feet across!!!!  We also saw many herds complete with some babies.


There are not many places that two days after you get home, you are longing to go back.  This is how Yellowstone is, though!!!  We had such a great time.  We saw many, many animals, lots of interesting people and everywhere you look, beautiful, wonderful vistas.  I almost cry looking at the pictures because there is a longing to be there, to see the sights, to breathe in the fresh air.

 The whole time, we were on an animal chase.  We went to great lengths to see as many wild animals as we could.  The last afternoon, we got so many new sightings, we were amazed when we look back on it. 

 We had seen hoofed animals all week - elk by great numbers, bison in herds and alone, deer, maybe a moose or two,  and on horseback some pronghorn antelope.  The sight of a bear eluded us for days.  We went up north in the park especially to see bear.  Still no bear.  But the last evening, there was a small, cinnamon spotted black bear right by the roadside!!!  He or she was so beautiful and so close that we could have almost touched it.  It was feeding on a rotting tree and the grubs there, oblivious to the humans around it.  It came alongside our van and then crossed the road in front sending the people in the road scattering to get away.  After that, as "icing on the cake", we saw a coyote, and lastly right in Old Faithful Village where we were staying, a red fox!!  We were so excited to see the bear, but seeing all of these in one afternoon, we were well beyond excited!!  

There is no describing the feeling of seeing God's beautiful handiwork, so spread out for us to see, everywhere we looked, 360 degrees.  The "thermal wonders" are also magnificent, but seeing all of this in one park goes beyond what I can describe.  I have tried, but until you are there, you just don't know how it is.  Let's just say, if you have a "bucket list", this is a must-see addition.  

Alas, there is pain in going to such a special place, and that is in coming home.  We knew that this was a special trip that was well worth the work and time put in planning it, but that is was also a trip that wouldn't be repeated for a while and probably never again with all four kids.  But enjoy it we did!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Puzzle

This puzzle was meant to give me something to do with #1 during the summer.  He loves elephants and I thought we could do the puzzle and "puzzle-save it" and put it up in his room.  It started out everyone working on it, but at the end, it was me gnashing my teeth to finish it.  It was HARD and time-consuming.  Even the self-proclaimed "puzzle genius" (#3) gave up.  I was so glad to get it done!!!  And it is sooooo beautiful!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Early Morning Walk

Just a couple of pictures that #4 and I took on one of our early morning walks.  

Summer, part 3

Summer is winding down.  Even with all the activity and arguing and extra work, I long for this to go on.  The kids can stay up and enjoy extra outside play time, movies with the family, read-alouds, games, and time with us.  And I like them being here.  I rest better at night, feel more comfortable during the day, and like the extra time they spend with each other discovering new ways to make things.  They seem more relaxed and I am too.  But in three more weeks, summer will be over and we will be rediscovering what it means to get used to getting up on a schedule, coping with homework, and getting to know the new school situations.  I feel hopeful that at least for #2 and #4, it will be pretty easy and a smaller adjustment.  For the other two, not so sure.  They will be changing schools.  The big exciting news is that the teacher we loved so much for #3 will have #4 - for two years!!  I am looking forward to working with her again and letting her work her magic on his stubborn personality and brilliant mind.  We have kept up with her during the summer and are just thrilled to have her continue on "Team K."!!!  There are other people I got to know last year that I will enjoy seeing again.  The administrators (especially a couple special friends), the instructional support teacher that #3 had last year and this year will be working with #4, and some (a few) of the other moms that volunteer at the schools.  I also look forward to the new teacher #1 will have and what the bigger, more challenging environment will do for him.  So, if we can make it through the next six weeks, I will feel a lot more comfortable with what lies ahead for the rest of the year.