CURRENTLY IN FLORIDA

 

If you have been following along with us on our Instagram, you know that we are currently in Florida visiting our family and taking advantage of what’s left of summer. We are loving every minute here, including the humidity that we once used to loathe. We’ve already crossed a few things off our list and still have about three more days of activities to plan. I’ll be sharing with you more about our trip. But for now here are a few thoughts about our time back home.

  1. Grace had a princess party this week. All of her cousins came over and had an amazing time bouncing around, slipping and sliding and eating cupcakes.  She was thrilled that her grandmother was going to celebrate her birthday and invite all of her cousins over.  We all sang happy birthday, she opened gifts and hasn’t stopped talking about it (more pictures to come) She’s also gotten a chance to hang out with her cousins and play for hours at a time.  We don’t have an opportunity to do that in the mid-west, so she is really basking in all the playtime.
  2. Emory went to the beach for the first time on Monday. The water was a little choppy but it didn’t stop all of us from jumping in.  Grace and Haddon built sand castles and we all left just a little bit tanner and with sand everywhere.
  3. We have been eating so much good food.  Our moms have been making all of our childhood favorites and we may be heading back to NE a few pounds heavier, which we are not that sad over.
  4. Alex and I spent a few days without the kids at Margaritaville and we had such a wonderful time relaxing and chatting without interruptions.  It was such a fun time with my brother and sister-in-love enjoying the beach, the hotel and eating all of the good food!
  5. Tomorrow we’re hitting the ocean for the last time and then it’s packing mode.
  6. There’s something to be said about palm trees lining walkways, the beach, the pool and every corner of every street.  It’s so refreshing seeing tropical trees and eating all of the mangos that were left over from the season.

We are looking forward to the drive back home.  Alex and I get a chance to talk and catch up during the drive and the kids are always crazy about watching movies in the minivan.  We have had such a wonderful time and although we are excited about getting back to our routine, we are loving our time here at home.

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WHITNEY LAKE TRAIL + HOGGING PICTURES

 

Considering the amount of pictures I share, you wouldn’t think that I label myself a “picture hogger.” I love sharing photos from our experiences, vacations and our time together as a family. However sometimes, I feel like once those pictures are out there, and shared, then the adventure has come to an end. I was that way about our New York trip, Waco trip, and my first Colorado post. Today, I’m sharing the last of my Colorado pictures. They’re my absolute favorite and I know that because it has taken me this long to post them.

Here’s the thing about trips and memories. Although I would love to hog them all and keep them to myself, they’re meant to be shared and enjoyed over and over even if it’s through this space on the Internet. I loved this trip so much. We had such an amazing time taking in the mountains, the fresh air and enjoying nature as a family. These pictures are from Whitney Lake Trail.  It was a five mile hike that took us more than three hours to complete.  It may have been four, I can’t quite recall. What I do recall, is how challenging and beautiful it was. All together, we were four adults and four kids (my brother and sister-in-love met us there).  Grace hiked the entire trail and did such an amazing job. We really were impressed with her overall stamina.

 

This guy did such a great job as well.  Five minutes into our hike, Haddon hurt his foot and Alex had to carry him the rest of the way.  It took us a while to agree on that, but he took on the challenge we were all glad he did.

Seeing mountains for the fist time was something wonderful.  Something we’re definitely not used to.

 

These two cuties.  They made this trip so much fun. 

This picture is a little blurry, but it’s an image that will forever be ingrained in my mind.  My boys, hiking. Such determination and both so handsome.

There were different times throughout this hike where my mind was so overwhelmed with nature and beauty that all I could do was stop and thank God for allowing us to witness His creation.  We were so high up the mountain and the weather was perfect.  There was also the soothing sound of running water and the breeze shuffling the leaves. It was perfect.  We were winded at times, but it was perfect.

 

We finally reached the top, which looked like a winter wonderland.  The entire area smelled like pine and Christmas and the snow was so heavy that we couldn’t get passed the log-bridge to finish the trail.  This was where we turned around and of course Alex and Grace stuck their feet in the freezing water.

 

I’ll never forget this trip to Colorado.  But, like all good things, we live through them, relish them and share them.  Here are to vacations, to family, to God’s amazing creation and to not hogging pictures!

 

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HIKING AND PLATTE RIVER TAKE II

 

A couple of weeks ago, we packed up our truck and took a drive down to Platte River State Park. Given that this was our second time visiting Platte River State Park, we were determined to take the kids on a trail that circles the entire park. The trail was so beautiful. Everywhere you looked there were huge trees creating a large canopy above our heads.  All of the leaves on the trees danced as the breeze hit them and the sound of the running water was so soothing it was almost nap worthy. Ever since Colorado, we have been wanting to get more active with the kids. We had so much fun on that trip and are constantly looking for ways to get outside and explore.

We had every intention of spending time getting to know the trails at Platte River, and exploring with the kids.  What we didn’t account for was getting all scratched up by some dangerous leaves, the kids getting soaked in the waterfall, and my epic 360-fall off a very slippery rock (thank you guys for your Instagram support).  It wasn’t our best moment, but we did bring home some good lessons.

For example:

  • Everyone must wear pants, even if it’s hot
  • Pack anti-itch cream, lots of it
  • Wear shoes with really good grip and test them out before leaving the house
  • Pack a change of clothes
  • Don’t venture too far into the trail without an exit strategy

We also learned that given the opportunity, Haddon would rather stop and smell the flowers than keep up with the rest of the family, and that he is way too big for our baby carrier. I think we’ll always remember this hike as “the one that got away” because of all the things that went wrong, but I am glad that we captured it and that we have pictures to prove that we tried our best.

So, here’s to trying, and failing and getting back up!

 

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PETTING STINGRAYS AT THE ZOO

 

Last weekend, we packed our bags and headed to Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo! We have been there before a few times, but we’ve never experienced their Stingray Beach. The Stingray Beach is a zoo attraction that is only set up during the summertime and they give the guests and opportunity get up close to the stingrays, pet them, and even feed them. This was our first time there and we were beyond excited.
It took us a little while to figure out exactly how to hold our hands palm down to pet the stingrays, but once we all figured it out, we just couldn’t stop. My favorite part was Haddon’s face after he touch the stingrays. He would let out a loud squeal of excitement and pride. There are a few other attractions open during the summer, like a massive splash pad, but we will have to come back and try that on a different day.

The kids arms weren’t long enough to reach the rays, so we ended up laying them flat on the ledge. It seemed like a good idea until they stood up and we all realized that they were soaked. As most family affairs go, it’s all fun and games until someone has fish water all over them…

I can’t get over how much fun this was. The kids are still talking about it and we’re planning our next stingray visit very soon.

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