Category Archives: Family

Happy Easter!

We had a wonderful Easter surprise this weekend: Pete had Sunday off! We hadn’t expected it, but he was asked to switch shifts just a few days before. Ella helped me decorate to get ready for the special day, and we spent the week reading stories from her Bible and other various books about Palm Sunday, The Last Supper, Good Friday, and Easter.

We stayed at the hospital with Pete on Saturday night, then drove back to Duluth Sunday morning to meet my parents at church. Afterward, we went back to our house to find what the Easter Bunny had left!

The Wizard of Oz was the very first play I was in back in 4th grade. I was a munchkin in a high school production, caught that theatre bug, and it never left. The kids have seen the stage production at The Children’s Theatre, but Ella hasn’t yet seen the movie. Can’t wait to watch it with her!

Miss Ella was beyond excited to help Sam look for his basket. This is the first year he’s been interested in finding his own treats.

No one needs to teach this kid about the amazingness of chocolate bunnies! He was ready to rip right into that box.

Oh, that first nibble!

My boys! I was ready to donate both these purple shirts a few weeks ago as I continue packing, but then I realized they would be perfect for Easter. Immediately following this photo, we took Sam’s shirt off to spare it the chocolatey mess.

Sadly, I don’t think I captured any pictures during our annual egg hunt! Papa brought eggs, in addition to the basket I had prepared, so the kids had quite the hunt. Two days later and Ella is still asking me to hide all the eggs again. And again and again. Happens every year!

 

We took Pete back to work Sunday evening, incredibly thankful to have spent the day together! We hope you had a wonderful day celebrating, too.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!


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One Last Trip to North Dakota

We recently made our very last trip to North Dakota, and we’re not sad about it one bit. Of course, we may certainly have other trips in the future, but this was our last to visit my sister, Becky, and her family. The drive from Duluth to Dickinson is about nine hours, and we’ve made the trip many times in the last two-and-a-half years. But no more! And it’s not just because we’re leaving soon for Kenya. Nope! They are now back in Minnesota!! I’m really close to my sister, and our kids love being together, so having them so far away was tough. I know I shouldn’t complain since we’ll soon be on the other side of the globe, but it just feels different. We’ll be able to visit them in Pequot Lakes (where we all grew up) one or two times before we head off, but when we come back in two years, they’ll be close enough to visit regularly. That makes me very, very happy!

My parents still live in Pequot, so we drive the two-and-a-half hours frequently. We always start a trip to North Dakota by visiting them. One, it cuts down on the drive. And two, my mom hops on board and makes the trip with us! It’s a far better journey with another adult along. I usually make the trip when Pete is scheduled to work, so I’m very thankful to have my mom with us.

Sam is a fan of the big dog crate at Nana and Papa’s. Play away, my boy!

During our visit, Ella got to have a day of homeschool with my dad as her teacher. I’m pretty sure both were thrilled. This was a little project they did for fun. Ella is a huge fan of maps, especially when they include our future home.

We were also able to visit my grandma while we were in the middle of Minnesota. It’s always such a treat to see her. Also, she puts together the best afternoon snacks!

This is how we all feel about Great Grandma. The kids adore both of their great grandmas. I’m incredibly thankful they’ve been able to spend time with them.

Back at my parents’ house, Ella was introduced to Snow White. Clearly, she agreed that the Evil Queen is pretty awful. Being such big Disney fans, it was really fun to watch this one together.

After a day at in Pequot, we headed toward North Dakota. The magic of homeschool? It can be done in the car! Not one complaint from this girl. She LOVES math. (Not from me, mind you.)

We made the trip to North Dakota primarily to celebrate my niece’s sixth birthday. (Miss Maira is in the middle below.) We celebrated at Texas Roadhouse so Maira could sit on the saddle while everyone cheered. Pretty cute.

Sammy, do you love Texas Roadhouse??

We spent a lot of time at the pool back at the hotel. Sam is hit or miss when it comes to the pool these days. He doesn’t want to be splashed, which means we don’t really play in the water. But he doesn’t mind kicking his feet or letting me hold him while we float a bit.

Best part of the hotel? The water slide!! The kids were in heaven. Also, it saved us from finding other random ways to keep them entertained. Winning all around.

Oh, but we did find one other crazy piece of fun. I’ve seen Pie Face on the feeds of so many Instagram friends and decided we needed it. Have you played this game? It’s hilarious! We put a dollop of whipped cream on the hand and then each player takes turns twisting the crank until – splat! – someone gets it right in the face!

We only ran into two problems.

One: The girls got crazy loud with excitement, which was probably not the neighbors’ favorite.

And two: We ran out of whipped cream too fast!! But seriously, it was amazing fun.

The girls eventually played with a wet sponge when the cream was gone. It equaled about the same amount of excitement.

These two adore babies, so spending time with their cousin Liana was delightful. Sammy either wanted to give her kisses…or wrestle. He tends to switch in lightning speed from the first to the second, so we have to keep a very close eye on him. Liana may have two playful big sisters, but she’s not quite ready for wrestling. Sorry, Sam.

After making the drive back to Pequot, we were able to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday! Yay, Papa! It was a really fun way to end the weekend.

Today my nieces went off on their first day of school in Pequot Lakes. I’m so happy they get to go to the same school we all did. Lots of the same teachers are there! They’ve since built a gorgeous new elementary school, so they’re not in the same building, but they will be eventually. They now live only ten minutes from our parents and twenty minutes from my little sister and her kids. Going ‘home’ is going to be such fun!

 

Are you curious about our progress toward Kenya? I know I haven’t been keeping up on the updates very well. I’ll tell you now that we’re sorting the house for what we’ll pack and what we’ll give away, which is keeping us very busy on top of our new adventure of homeschooling. I’m working on an update today and will have it posted in the next couple days. So be sure to check back! And thank you for continuing on this journey with us!


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Four Tickets to Ride – Up Pikes Peak

One site in Colorado we were set on seeing in January was Pikes Peak. I had imagined we would simply drive around and look at it because of all the snow, but then we learned about the little cog railway that takes passengers up the mountain. Sold! Anything that remotely resembles a train is an instant win in our family. Sam is absolutely in love. So after we had all acclimated to the elevation, we booked our tickets and hit the mountain!

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As we waited to board the little, red train car, Sam excitedly signed train over and over. Day. Made.

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There are just two, little, connected cars that make their way up and down the mountain. Big windows, vintage pictures hanging inside, and a fantastic tour guide all added to the fun of the trip. An added bonus for me? The guy on the speaker sounded exactly like Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation. Who knows Ron Swanson? Made me laugh the entire trip!

One very excited little boy!

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His big sister was pretty thrilled, too.

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Winter trips up the mountain don’t go the complete 14,000 feet because of the snow. The 12,000 feet we did travel, however, offered incredible views. Like here at Inspiration Point.

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I’d love to see this again in the summer.

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I get to see these boys every day! Lucky me!

On the way back down, we made a half-hour stop to get out for photos and such. You know what wasn’t available at that stop? Food. And guess what Mom forgot to pack? Food. And you know what time it was? Past lunch. Amateur move, Mom. I did, however, have this little packet of salmon in the bottom of my bag, so we ripped that pouch wide open and ate it with our fingers. (PS My girl is so quick to pose these days. My little actress. All the heart eyes for this one, I tell you.)

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Sam was all about the salmon.

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Our dear Nikki joined us on the trip up the mountain. We met Nikki at training and instantly connected. She is an amazing young woman who also has an enormous heart for children with special needs in Kenya. She’s already been working for a while in Nairobi. We can’t wait to hug her again when we all meet up in Kenya in just a few months!

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So glad we got to take on Pikes Peak! God did a pretty incredible job creating these majestic mountains.

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Have you been to Colorado? What’s your favorite place? We could have explored her sites for weeks and weeks!

 

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear friends! We are so thankful to have you on this journey with us!

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photo card from Photo Affections
bottom right photo of Sam by Jane Cane Photography


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