Saturday, July 17, 2010

Worth a Look

Today I came across this blog and was truly touched by the video there. If you have a moment hop on over and take a look. You'll be glad you did. I know I was.

Have a great Lord's Day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I did it again

Not one of my finer moments as a mom, but I once again left one of my children and drove away. Tonight after I got off of work we went out dinner. Leaving the restaurant Rebekah told Lydia to tell me that she was going to the restroom. All the kids were paired up and walking ahead of me to the van. John was my partner so we were moving kind of slow. When I got to the van I shut the door, turned it on and drove off.

About a mile down the road there was a collective cry. "WHERE'S REBEKAH!" With screeching tires I turned that tank around picturing my little girl's devastation when she realize we were gone. Joseph's prayer was, "Lord, help Rebekah have to poop so that we get to her before she sees were gone."

We pulled up to our little red eyed Rebekah with a great big cookie in her hand standing by an employee on the sidewalk. Whew!! After some long hugs she whispered, "I forgive you. Mommy, I'll never forget you."

On the way home (while the other kids retold stories of their past) I quizzed her on full name, her parents names and such. "Rebekah, do you know your address?"

"No. I know what the sign looks like. I know the number."

"What's the number?"

"Twenty five," she announced proudly.

Twenty five is the speed limit. I think I know the first thing she's going to be learning in kindergarten this fall.


American Girls... what are they coming to?

Just what every doll needs- a raccoon in a trash can for a mere $28. I could set my trash can out in the yard with the lid off and get a live raccoon for free.

Or how about a plastic taco picnic. That would only set you back $36 or it could purchase some real people some much needed real food.

Every set of doll twins needs a double jobbing stroller. Forget that the same amount of money could buy a real baby a car seat.

Thankfully there's now a solution for those crooked doll teeth. Orthodontia. She never complains about wearing head gear at a sleepover and she certainly doesn't "accidentally" throw away her retainer in the cafeteria.

Life happens. That sums it up right there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Medicine Bow Lodge

Disclaimer: This is going to sound like a paid advertisement, but it's not. It's just the testimony of a family that had an incredible vacation.

We had the most amazing time in Wyoming at Medicine Bow Lodge. The entire experience exceeded our expectations. If you are considering a unique and unforgettable vacation, I cannot recommend Medicine Bow Lodge enough. Here's why:

1. Horses: We rode both morning and afternoon for upwards of two hours at at time. The horses are well maintained and each ride was an exploration of it's own- rushing mountain streams, aspen forests, pine forests, rocky byways and gorgeous scenes. We each had the same horse throughout the week and were well instructed on how to handle it. We also enjoyed a sunset ride and a day long pack trip.

2. Hospitality: We stayed in a cabin with adjoining rooms which provided us with both space and privacy. Each room had its own bathroom with a shower. The lodge, which is the perfect combination of rustic and cozy, is open to guests 24 hours a day along with access to hot and cold drinks. It didn't take long before we were on a first name basis with everyone and felt right at home. It even came with a dog, Katie, to pet.

3. Staff: The Bishop family owns and lives at the ranch along with their staff. These young people went out of their way to know our children's names and engage our family. I really can't say enough about their willingness to serve, work hard and make our vacation extra special. I think my kids learned a lot from watching these young adults working well together and having fun at the same time.

4. Food: I wish that I would have taken more pictures, but honestly I couldn't help but start eating each meal before I would remember to snap a shot. Each meal at the ranch is included in the price. The day always started with hot cinnamon rolls on the table to enjoy while breakfast was being cooked. Breakfast was made to order: pancakes, toast, eggs, omelets, hashbrowns, fruit, cereal.... Whatever we could dream up, they could make. Lunch and Dinner were always well prepared and well balanced meals. Coming straight from the kitchen and made from scratch, it really seemed like home (except I didn't have to make it and clean it up:) Two of our girls are gluten free, but this did not stop them from enjoying the food. The kitchen staff went out of their way to ensure that they could eat what they wanted. They even went as far as cleaning and cooking the fish that we caught.

5. Activities: There's more than just horses to Medicine Bow Lodge. We enjoyed the rope swing, playing pool, fishing, country dancing, a concert by the fireplace and pottery. These activities were just like icing on the cake.

6. Family: Unlike other dude ranches where riders are separated by experience or age groups, Medicine Bow Lodge allows for families to stay together. Their Lodge is based not on programs or schedules, but people, which is truly what sets them apart.

7. Faith: It is clear that the Bishops love the Lord and are devoted to serving Him. It was such an encouragement to see various family and staff members with their Bibles open over breakfast. Chapel services are offered on Sunday mornings as well. There is a genuine atmosphere of respect and peace that clearly stems from their faith.

8. Beauty: Traveling up the mountain pass to the lodge will no doubt take your breath away. But once at the ranch there is an incredible amount of beauty to explore and discover. The Lodge sits in the middle of Medicine Bow National Forest which covers miles of protected land. I personally enjoyed the rushing mountain stream behind the lodge and the very comfortable hammock.

9. Price: Okay, this is probably going to be the kicker for most people. We were blessed beyond measure to have received this vacation through the Kids Talk About God International Art Contest. However, considering that this vacation is all-inclusive the price bears itself out. Consider this: a week at Disney costs and average of $1000/person, an all inclusive family resort averages about $1200/person. Other ranches in Wyoming offer similar accommodations, but at a much higher rate. Medicine Bow Lodge is well worth the investment for an experience of a lifetime.

10. A true vacation experience: I can testify firsthand that vacation isn't always the most relaxing experience, especially for mom. Oftentimes a lot of energy is spent on planning, managing the budget, waiting in long lines and trying to get everything in during a week of vacation only to come home a bit haggard. This vacation experience was completely the opposite. It gave us an opportunity to experience the beauty of God's creation, a time to bond as a family while trying new things, and a chance to leave responsibility behind for a while. We left Medicine Bow Lodge truly refreshed and rejuvenated.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Being that we are from the suburbs, none of us have had much exposure to horses. Sure, there's been the occasional birthday party or walk around the loop at Brown County State Park, but nothing like a few hours a day riding. These horses are taking us places that we couldn't get to by foot and that are rarely seen. We've each had our exciting moments which we've now lived to tell, but overall it's been incredible.

Tim, the ranch owner, has been our teacher and guide. He has the quiet strength that gives him command over these animals. He really knows them each not only by name, but by personality. We are all learning a lot about trusting the horse and taking charge without being afraid. I think that I'm really going to miss riding when we get home.

Miriam on Dollar

Hannah taking a wade with Murray

My jeans

Betsy and Stretch

Trying to line up for a photo. Check out that view!

Lydia and Geranimo

Me and Popcorn

Friday, July 2, 2010

On the Road

We've had an adventurous two day drive to Wyoming. Although I do miss our little ones, I must say that traveling with big girls has been a treat. We brought the big 15 passenger van so each person has their own row. There was definitely some lounging, reading and DVD watching going on.

We are always suckers for that roadside sign that says, "Turn Here." In the middle of Iowa we couldn't resist the American Gothic Museum.

We reached our friends, the Baumgartners, in Clarinda, Iowa just in time for a late dinner and a walk around their cute, little town. It was such a treat to see their new home and the church where Jack is pastor. Spending time with them is always an encouragement. Miss them.

We enjoyed driving across Nebraska knowing that Medicine Bow Lodge was on the other side. Hannah sat in the front and quizzed me for my exam for several hours. That was so helpful, and now I feel a little less pressure to study on vacation.

Coming into Wyoming there was a sudden change in the topography. As we climbed into the mountains the views were breathtaking.

We're settled in now at the lodge. Today we've taken two long rides up mountains, in aspen forests and through a few rushing river streams. Amazing.