Experiencing our nation through its environments, animals, people and history.

Galatians 5:1

Saturday, June 30, 2007

More from NY!

Here are some more pics from New York... you might have a special attraction to a few of these, we took them with you in mind! And if you haven't figured out yet, for some reason when we post our stuff to the blog the pictures get re-alligned. We're not doing crazy typing stuff on purpose.

As for Greg and Cheryl's moments in New York... Cheryl's favorite is ordering small cheese pizza in Little Italy and the owner calling back to the cook "She want small-plain-pie!"

Greg has enjoyed learning about Ellis Island and the Off-the-freeway, into-the-water driving range.

New York, New York!

Welcome to New York

Hello, internet!! We are here basking in the lovely back yard of our dear friends (by acquaintance, Thanks S and A!!) apartment in Manhattan, relaxing after a full day of seeing the sights. Here are the kids own words of their thoughts of the Big City:

(singing at the top of his lungs, banging a plastic seltzer water bottle on the stepping stone like a drum.)

"When you go to New York, you're supposed to have fun in New York! New York is the Biggest of all, maybe not, when you get here you to look up at the skyscrapers, in the sky you might see some birds... pretty ones... and when you go on the ferry, you might see some little baby jellyfish... and you'll like all the stuff you'll see in New York... it'll be really fun!! New york is the biggest city.... and when you see the flowers, it will look pretty.... and now the day is over, and we just go to bed! There! Now you owe me money!!"

(speaking like a reporter.)

New York is BIG!! It's fun too! We got Yankee's hats today, but dad didn't. He doesn't like the Yankees. I tried to talk him into it, though. I said "Alex Rodriguez used to play on the Mariners, that's why I got the Yankees hat!" We tried to watch the Yankees game but we were too late, it had already finished. We went to Ellis Island and we got to see the Statue of Liberty.

I think New York is the biggest city I've ever been in. We went to Ellis Island and saw the statue of Liberty, but we didn't climb up into the statue part. At Ellis Island we got an audio tour, and I got a New York shirt, and mommy got the same one except for bigger. I also got a little keychain thing, sorta like a lucky penny one, it has a little cube inside it with the empire state building, a car, statue of Liberty and an apple. I got a white Yankees hat with a blue symbol-ma-thing. I'm really exited to go the American Girl place tomorrow, mom says Lissie is gonna get an "I heart NY" shirt, she doesn't know if I'm gonna get one. We're in a private garden in this apartment we're staying in, she has a really big apartment with a basement, she has a tree with little pink fluffy things, there is a bush with purple flowers on it, there are sirens blaring out on the street, there's a white hydrangea bush and stepping stones going across a part of the garden area. there's a half circle with white rocks on it, and on the other side there is a cement place with a table and chairs also an umbrella. What I like most about New York so far today was....I don't know!! I liked all of it!!

Friday, June 29, 2007

We made it!! (with pics)

Yes, we did make it to DC!!! Our last day of driving took us through Pennsylvania where we stopped at a sweet little animal farm and let the kids have a pony ride. It was our first real experience with the HEAT and now I know we're really far from home, "everybody talks funny"!! JJ enjoyed his new job as "toll payer" and the kids all played imaginary baseball in their seats the whole ride. Pennsylvania is a beautiful state with all the trees, for some reason I was surprised to see such beautiful greenery outside of Washington! Silly, me! The animal farm was a blast, especially the Yak with the tongue!!

We're here now and its already been a week... when we arrived the first thing we had to achieve was getting lost in DC... Georgetown to be exact... we figured we better prove all those people right that say "it really is easier to take the metro!" but we arrived, to find our home had been switched to a nice, floor level, two bedroom, private bath WITH A KITCHEN!! We are so cozy on the second day the kids were already saying "it feels just like home!"

So the first week went by in a flash... the boys hopping into kids camp, where they are getting a great multiculture experience as well as the whole bilingual thing. Jo came back the first day saying someone threw dirt in his face... I said, "oh, why did they do that?" he said "I don't know!! He was signing way too fast!!" so (tongue in cheek) I am trusting that the dynamics there will certainly improve. I taught him some survival signs (I think he never saw them as so necessary, til now) and the second day he came back saying he learned this sign: (two four hands touching) it means LINE UP!! He was so proud of himself (and me too.)

For Cheryl, its been a huge adjustment to being a student again... reading, reading, reading... all while trying to get rid of the 5,000 kinks in my neck from the drive over. I know I'm getting old when my body has a three day delayed reaction, and five day recovery time. But its Friday now and I'm feeling fine :) Greg has been amazing, taking the kids around DC, making lunches, doing laundry. Definately gets the supportive hubby award!! They had a fun visit with RJ and Sergei and have been to the air and space museum, natural history museum, a "planes fly right over you" park in Virginia, and swimming almost every day. The kids most favorite thing is hopping across the stone design in the "blue water" right outside of our dorm... (JJ has been across 64 times, he says) AND we all love getting to eat dinner at the cafeteria every night. We budget my meal plan to just to dinner together as a family, and they have enough options to please the whole fam, with unlimited cereal and icecream for dessert. Who could complain??!!

Besides studying I've been able to make some amazing contacts... I met with Maya Yamada, a former Gallaudet Dance Company dancer and choreographer... and WHOA!! She is eager to bring her dance company (of hearing and deaf dancers) to Madrona for Deaf Awareness week and also to do some workshops for all who are interested. She loaned me their DVD of "50 years of dance" and it is very inspiring... for those of us who dream of the chorus, the dance team, all that... I think we have found us a mentor. I'm excited!

so today is friday and I'm off to turn in my official first assignment. I'm still having internet access issues (grrr) so I am slow in uploading pics, but hopefully it will be resolved by the time we get back from NEW YORK!! Thanks to everyone who checks in on us and sends us your goodwill, it really does make a difference! I carry home in my heart. -Cheryl

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Fun with Five

Day 4.... (pant, pant) Wisconsin

Wisconsin Sunrise....
We are so excited for our next official stop, Michigan- we decided to pull another plug on, sleep at the rest stop maneuver... but this time we woke up plenty early. Please do be impressed, Cheryl took this picture while everyone was still sleeping, one hand on the driving wheel.
The rest of the day we spent checking out Chicago (especially the baseball fields) and enduring the TRAFFIC...
Until we finally made it to our good friends in Michigan!! It was a tearful, joyful reunion to get to have a real live hug, and to enjoy the afternoon watching the kids all play. God certainly is good to us, we have made it this far with only one missing shoe.. and in S's own words "we made it through Montana, Wyoming, Yellowstone, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan... and I haven't puked since!"

Day 3- Minnesota

The prairie driving is actually quite beautiful!! Though we were quite happy to be out of South Dakota and see this sign. Jo was sound asleep, he missed out on the photo opp!

Cheryl's shots of the "Little Bug on the Prairie" (right next to where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived)

We ended up our long driving day with a "we're almost camping but not really" cook out at a rest stop. The mosquitoes were so annoying it was almost like having skeeter cakes in our spaghetti. Here are the kids at our Minnesota rest stop, playing "Skeeter free ship" (no mosquitos aloud)

(Good thing Greg brought the bug repellant!! We're outa here!!)

Day 3- South Dakota

Good morning, glory!! Today we awake in the comfort of the hotel room... S is being our alarm clock at 7:30 am, saying "Shouldn't we go eat, and hit the road?" but Jo responds "I ... think... I.... need.... more...... REST!" We had a good breakfast and trudged thru the long, grainy state of South Dakota.

Our highlights of the state were the very friendly people, their very creative use of corn (We did stop at Corn Palace and where Cheryl finally got the chance to shop...) and enjoying the 84 degree weather. Our quote of the day is from S: "Mom... these people here dress like its cold outside!!"

Today also marks a slight change for me, shifting from learning about the land to learning more about the people of our country. I also got serious with my reading (classes do start monday!) and I'm very excited to be back in school.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Thursday night... Rapid City, SD

Pah!! Sonics burgers, swimming and mattresses have never felt so good! We made it to Rushmore with 4/5 happy campers... S is grieving her lost crock (you know those trendy shoes? I’ll have to honor its memory with the story of its demise....)

So we’re coming out of Cody and there’s road work... the line up, stop your car, its gonna be at least 10 minutes kind of road work. So we decided to jump out and get a little exercise... jumping jacks and sprints along side the road... (I asked all the RV’ers lined up if they wanted to join, but they declined!) and sure enough as we are sprinting down away from our car, the worker gives us a grin and says “I see my car coming now!” So we turn around and run back up to the van, where Greg is patiently waiting in the driver seat. He jumps out, opens all the doors, and kids start piling in, boys diving to the back seat... and the line starts moving. We thought we were all in but the boys go “Daddy! the door is open!!” and turns out he started driving down the highway with the left sliding door wide open. So we quickly remedy the situation and mosey on.... only to find out somewhere shy of South Dakota that we only have one crock. We can only guess it went overboard back near Cody... and Shayna has been depressed ever since. Until the Sonics and swimming pool that is!!

Rushmore today marks the beginning of American government learning for our family. test: who are the four presidents on the faces of Mt. Rushmore? I’ll give you hints: the initials are GW, TJ, TR, and AL. If you know them you learned just as much as we did today! We’ll be learning much more of that in DC, for sure.

Tmw the goal is many miles thru Minesota and on to our friends in Michigan, either late Friday or Saturday am. It is an amazing trip, thanks for all the prayers!! nitey nite

PS, I am having a hard time loading the pictures, but the pool is calling my name. I’ll get Greg’s help and come back and edit later!! This is so fun!!

Day 2


6-21, Thursday morning..... so after two nights of sleeping in the car, first thing we did was call ahead for a hotel!! Goal is Mt. Rushmore and then a little leisure. We are all feeling still quite happy but grungie... you know it must be bad when your kids actually start begging for a bath!

We are driving thru Wyoming now.... what a perfect cowboy state!! Ranches and horses are everywhere, log homes like they’re supposed to be here instead of copies we see on the west coast. We drove through one town where two little girls about the boys age were riding bareback to the general store... unaccompanied and enjoying the ride. Popualtion? 50. (That’s the size of the kids' class at Madrona!)!! I am serious. Population of the town is 50.

I wish I could stop and take pictures of everylittle REAL cowboy moment I witness out here... more gazelle staring at us from the fields, crazy woman saloon.... but Greg is driving by in a blaze of glory. I had to pull the bathroom card just to get him to pull over and check out these waterfalls. This is in the Bighorn Mountains... which are suprisingly beautiful with the red rock (reminding us of southern Utah with Marilyn and Trishie!!) and the amazing geological representation of time zones and how the earth changes... man, there is no end to the fascination and the things you could study out here. The waterfalls were amazing and powerful, and of course I have my fascination with water. Here the water essentially cut through these mountains and carved a beautiful canyon. (and, lucky for me, they put up a bathroom.)

So far, so good! We are into South Dakota now and coming up on Rushmore. Outside of the Rocky mountains, Wyoming has been fairly flat and uneventful, but the kids are all doing fine, here’s my proof!!

When we meet up with civilization again I will surely upload!! A oh, its raining on the road to Rushmore. Who cares! Hotel, coming soon. Love ya!!