Saturday, July 25, 2009


yesterday we made our way to the lower loop of yellowstone and saw old faithful. what an amazing work of creation! on our way through yellowstone we were able to see a bald eagle, bison, coyote, elk, and on the way home a moose! i was amazed at how much of the park has been damaged by wild fires. i wasn't expecting that.

today is a lay low day. we're preparing for tomorrow when we make our big trek to the grand tetons. i was able to finish taking the kids' pictures outside today. the kids are doing great except when luke stepped into a 4 X 8 piece of EXTREMELY sticky paper to prevent ants from getting past....he stepped into it ACCIDENTALLY of course. he then continued to spread the sticky mess throughout the entire house!!!!! UGH!!!! to which andrew followed suit and ACCIDENTALLY stepped into it too - yea right! oh i was so upset!! it was nearly impossible to get that stuff wiped off! the boys are needing a routine and that's why we decided to stay around the cabin for today.

we're planning on doing white water rafting on monday....really looking forward to that!
it's been a week since we left....i can start feeling the homesickness settle in just a little....i'm such a home body!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


i was hoping to have written each night about our out west adventure....HA!!! what was i THINKING!! i had forgotten how much WORK it is to take 2 little ones on vacation! I'M TIRED!! i need a vacation from this vacation! actually it has gone quite smoothly so's just logistically moving 9 people in and out of hotel rooms each night, making sure each are dressed with the appropriate child's clothing each day, and handling two little ones who are WAY off schedule! lydia has traveled well so far.....ben on the other hand?!?!?! let's just say dramamine is my best friend!! it doesn't help that he's teething his eye teeth right now as well.

anyway, last saturday was our big push to orange city, IA. i know all the jokes about corn and iowa, but it didn't ready me for the unbelievable beauty to see acres of corn for as far as the eye can see. it was really quite beautiful. the other thing that i didn't know was that iowa has wind farms as well. talk about majestic beauty in those ginormous white arms stretching to the sky circling around and around!

sunday we met up with a wonderful family that we met in guatemala when we were picking up lydia and they were picking up their son. it was so good to see them again and all of our kids hit it off great. we hope to be able to meet up with them again and meet in the middle. (sorry, heather...i tried to upload your picture, but i wouldn't let me!! :(

monday we were up and out early so that we could put in some miles to see the badlands and mount rushmore. the badlands were explained perfectly by our neice "it's like one great big sand castle". the kids just about gave me a heart attack when they went so close to the edge to just about falling off. it was gorgeous in a dry, sandy, brownish sort of way. we got to rapid city and then went to a dinner show at fort hayes (the movie set of dances with wolves). cool set, ok food, horrible kids (greg and i ended up in the van with the younger two before the show ended). the older kids liked it though. after the show we were let out in time to get to mt. rushmore and see the lighting ceremony. i ended up in the van with the 2 little ones (they had finally crashed), but i was able to see rushmore from the van. completely amazing!

tuesday was bear country. very cool to see bears in front of our cars. the elk were huge! we then drove onto devils tower. it just amazes me the things that God has created. i've never seen anything like it. it was incredibly hot and we decided to just drive past it instead of drive up to it. then came the road that never ended....212 from devils tower to billings.....the road that NEVER, EVER ended!! that was a long haul. the only interesting thing was that there are some HUGE bugs in montana!! we nailed them all i think! we ended the day in billings.

wednesday brought us to our home away from home....big sky, montana....the most beautiful place on earth. this morning i woke up before everyone else and sat out on the deck and watched the sun rise. between the cool air, the pine trees for as far as the eye could see, the mountain range growing from deep browns to pale blues, hearing the creek rushing by, the birds waking up, and spending some precious time with my Heavenly Father. it's seth's birthday today. and i'm missing him more today than usual. it's normal i'm sure, but today God spoke to me in psalm 23. i've read and memorized that chapter since i was a little girl, but today the verse that says "He leads me beside quiet waters He restores my soul"

popped out like i had never seen it before. i don't know if it was being next to the creek and listening to it...but it just spoke to me in a way that i've never heard it before. it was if God had ordered everything together this morning for me to read that verse. (doesn't He do that every day?) i felt so reassured that He wanted to restore my soul. heaven knows my soul is in need of some restoring. so seth's birthday is almost done. we ate pistachios (one of his fact we found cup fulls of shells in his closet after he died!), looked at his abc book, talked about how much he would have loved it here, and went out for his birthday supper. i so much would rather he be here in person. my heart aches for him at times.....but God IS restoring my by day. and today He's doing it in the most beautiful place on earth.

Friday, July 17, 2009


1 van packed to the gills......9 bins of clothes.......1 trailer filled with bikes.......7 very excited kids.....2 very tired parents......1 big empty hole......25 gallons of gas........5 bags of chips.......69 pages of trip tiks......4000 miles ahead of us........1 mom with no hair.......9 sweat shirts packed.....112 diapers(hopefully enough!)....... 2 bottles of benadryl......around 54 hours on the road round trip.........55 dvds......montana here we come!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

OFF TO MONTANA!! (soon...)

96 bears assembled and ready to deliver.......350 support letters sealed and ready to be sent.....starlight stuff on to packing for MONTANA!!! we leave on saturday and just can't wait. i've never been out west before and am very anxious to see God's creation and beauty. i can't wait for the road trip (i LOVE road trips!). i'm excited to spend time with my brother and sister and their family (they're coming with us too!). i'm just ready for a change. with all the excitement i still feel anxious....sad?.....reserved? i'm not really sure, but just off a little. we will be celebrating seth's birthday in montana. i'm a little disappointed that i won't be here to visit his 'doorway' (i just finished reading a book where a mom had lost her infant daughter to a genetic disorder and they call her grave site her 'doorway into heaven'. i absolutely LOVED that reference! so i think from now on i'm going to look at seth's grave not as an ending, but a beginning for him. a doorway in which he ran through 20 months ago.) i'm nervous as to how to 'celebrate' this year. i don't want it to be just another day and yet i don't want to 'ruin' the time out there for everyone else. i'm still thinking about what to do. i finished seth's ABC scrapbook.....maybe i'll take that with us.....i'm not quite sure yet. donna (my sister-in-law) suggested we go up to the tallest hill/mountain to get the closest to him and let go balloons....maybe that's what we'll do. either way....he will be so missed. this is our first major vacation without him and i'm feeling such mixed emotions. i just hope the day goes well, that we have fun, and that i don't ruin it for everyone.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


i can't believe that starlight ministries is truly becoming a reality! we've worked on SLM for the last 6 months and last night it really hit me....this is really happening.....and i stand in awe.

i had 13 amazing women come over to assemble our first batch of seth bears. kath made a beautiful cake with our logo on it!! what a great surprise! thank you so much kath....i LOVED it!
we needed to cut the tags, string the tags/stars, and tie them onto the seth bears. we also had some folding the family letter and stuffing envelopes. these will accompany the seth bear and is for the parents -explaining what the bear is about and telling them about SLM. it took only 45 minutes to get it all done! it was just unbelievable as i watched everyone helping us make our dream a reality. a HUGE shout out 'thank you' to all you who came! so the first set of bears are done and will be delivered sometime next this all a dream?!?!?! all i can say is that God is such a BIG God. never in my wildest dreams would i have ever thought this could all happen - and it has...and i stand in awe.