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

Galatians 5:1

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Family Reunion

Hi Gran!! Here are some pics of our reunion in Silverton, OR.

The Max Longs

Mikayla, JJ, Shayna, Kai and Josiah

Kate and Mikayla

Proud Grandma Judy with Bronwyn's new baby Adeline
Chunky Kai!!We love you!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Welcome Home!!

Yes, we have arrived!! We rolled into Seattle last night and passed Safeco field as the M's beat TC with a walk off homerun by Richie... oh! you might not care about that... (but it was a nice welcome)

We made it through 24 states, 11 baseball fields, 12 college credits and 8,952 miles across country and back! For those of you who wonder if accomplishing this with three young children isn't cause for insanity, we have composed our very own top ten travel tips:

1. Be ready for the experience. -JJ
2. Get new tires and make sure your AC works. -Shayna
3. Don't forget the stop itch cream. -mom
4. Entertainment (things to keep you not bored) (like gameboys) -JJ
5. Collect souveniers such as pencils, keychains, stuffed animals and postcards. -all 3
6. Stop and see lots of places! -Josiah
7. Have things the whole family can listen to together. -Shayna
8. Always stop and see your friends. -mom
9. Do it in the Spring! -dad
10. Go for it! Have Fun!! -the whole family

And as I asked the family if they want to fly or drive next year, the votes were 4 to drive and one to fly (you guess who.) And what do you think? The kids want to know! "for you guys out there who check our blog, you get to vote too!" (Leave it on the comments)

Thanks all!! Happy trails!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bend, Oregon

It all happened while we were at the Colorado Rockies game in Denver. Poor Sport was out in the hot sun, and while we were enjoying mile high baseball he was working up a little sweat and thinking "what do they think I am, invincible?"

So after they scored 19 runs and we got another hat for our collection, we joined up with Sport to show him downtown Denver. He wasn't really interested, however. His patience with the heat had been stretched to the limit... first it was no cold air in the AC (the perfect way to get our attention) and then the pressure started building under the hood. We stopped right away and helped him calm down, gave him a special ride to the Happy Sport store, and ended up with one more night in Denver.

Good ol' Sport couldn't have picked a better place to lose his temper. We have friends in town that let us stay at their place (thanks Bill and Kathy!) and Denver is a really cute little town. It gets my pick as the best downtown! Shortly after noon on Thursday Sport was ready to go and we hit the trail again, heading for Oregon. We made one little stop chasing down another Chick-fil-A (we learned how to scope them out in the malls! Thank God Virginia had those free standing ones or I might've never knew they existed! ) AND we got to do a little shoe shopping. School will be starting soon, huh??

We drove through Wyoming and Utah, through the night and made it to Bend, Oregon, where we are visiting Greg's mom and feeling the relief of being back home. We ran into some old college freinds of ours here that we hadn't seen for 7 years... they happened to be visiting their mom in town and shopping at Children's Place the same time we were.... I love it when the Lord gives us little gifts like that. We'll be heading over the mountains to a family reunion today and time with our dearest friends the Christensens... last stop until we make the journey back up to Seattle. Has it really been 8 weeks? Were we really in New York?

What a ride. -C

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Sport squawks again

This time it was the AC... or fan... or whatever.... but Denver is awesome! more soon!

Colorado Springs

Well hello, Colorado!! Here we are in Colorado Springs and spending a few days with friends.

Guess we’ll be staying here a little while more. But before I get to that story, check out some of the cool spots in Colorado Springs!

We went to go visit the “Focus on the Family” headquarters, and made our very own “Adventures in Odyssey” CD. We’ve been hooked on those tapes from day 1 (thanks to Paul and family! Lifesavers!!) And when we found out the headquarters were here in town, we had to check it out! Shayna and JJ got to read parts and Josiah did the sound effects. Now we'll have even more fun stuff to listen to (if we ever get the van back.) This is a pic with Caleb and Anna, who graciously shared thier house!!

We also got to check out the Olympic Traning Center. My brother Ron used to train for the olympics and was on the national team for rowing, so it was cool to see this and think of him!!

We also went out to visit the Garden of the Gods. Very amazing!! Now, the van is ready so I'll have to hold that story for later. We're heading off to Oregon!! (we hope!!)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Thars mountains up yonder!

Holy cow, Hallelujah, Glory to the King, thank God almighty!! It's 60 degrees outside! And we see mountains!!

There is something about coming home, leaving the heat, new tires on the van... free bonus hours added to our day... it all adds up to making serious headway on our trip back. Last night we stayed in a part of Kansas City called "Independence"- a starting point for many who traveled the Oregon Trail. We gloriously got our first complaint from Sport (that's the van) in that he needed new tires, but he was so sweet to wait until we pulled into the hotel parking lot to make his point. So we gave him four really good ones and he was so happy he took us all the way to Colorado!!

Now we are hanging out in Colorado Springs for a couple days. We blazed through an incredible desert lightning storm to get here, but the fresh air and chasing the sunset brought us here in record time. We are staying at our friends' Wade and Dara's... ready for some more fun coming soon!! Thank you Lord!

Huzzah!! -C

Sunday, August 5, 2007

St. Louis, Missouri

Holy cow! Those gnats drove us right out to the Mississippi river, which used to be the western border of the US- did you know that? Until Thomas Jefferson (the third president, one of my favorites, and Greg's cousin) made the Louisiana purchase and bought the whole mid west from the French. For only 15 million, by the way!!

That happened in 1803 and opened up the "gateway to the west". St. Louis was a big fur trading town and because of its location on the river and contributions to all the various groups of people at the time, it was the perfect place to set up a monument. Anybody know what this is?
All right! I'll give you a little bit more.
It's the "Gateway Arch", it is a national monument for the Thomas Jefferson expansion project. We thought we'd just go check it out for fun, and there ended up a whole incredible museum underground about the west, Lewis and Clark, the Indians, the settlers, the land.... It was set up in a expanding circular time line so you could follow the changes to all the people throughout the century. We gave our youngest resident photographer the camera.

You could also take a tram ride up the arch, and look out little windows on the top. But this arch is even higher than the Washington Monument, so mommy convinced us that buying souveniers at the store would be even better.
Pretty cool!!! We spent the rest of the day enjoying the AC in our car and making it all the way to Kansas City, where we met up with a hotel, more swimming (the pool is so small mom!) and a flat tire. Woohaw!

Chic-fil-A trail

Have any of you guys ever eaten at Chic-fil-A? We had one in the mall where I grew up, and it was my absolute favorite place to eat. Ever since I moved to Oregon and Washington, I've had no Chic-fil-A. I almost forgot about it.

Then remember when we went to Williamsburg? I saw a sign on the freeway for one and we chased it down. But is was Sunday, and they honor the Lord by closing all their restaurants on Sunday. So we came upon an empty lot and I almost cried with disappointment.

Now, there is the background. Imagine today we are driving through Virginia, on these historical roads that apparently Washington marched his armies on (improved since then, of course.) We stop for a budget conscious meal at a rest stop. It is hot. And humid. And we are terrified of mosquitos. We are trying to enjoy ourselves but the longer we sit, the more gnats come and bonk us in the head.

Lissie and Nikki actually fared the best of all of us. The gnats didn't seem to bother them.

Nor the heat.

So we decide to move on... no camping for us... and when mommy is throwing away her lovely salad, she notices something in the garbage.


So forget about Washington, who cares about Lewis and Clark. We are on a major Chic-fil-A trail and I won't stop until we find one. I knew the garbage was a huge clue, there had to be one close!!

Enough of the drama, we did find one at the very next stop and it was.... heaven! They have southern fried nuggets and everything comes with cole slaw and I even went all the way and ordered SWEET TEA.

Finally, my moments in Virginia are complete. We are released to go. We were so satisfied we drove all the way through West Virginia and made our own rest stop in a tractor lot somewhere in Illinois.

Haven't seen a Chic-fil-A since. Just KFC's. (It's not the same....)

Bye bye Gally

Our time out here has been sooooooo incredible, we had to have ceremonious goodbyes throughout the whole campus. First, Mommy says goodbye to Fowler Hall where she spent all her time in class.

Next, the Bison right outside the gym... where we swam a lot and the boys did kids camp. Everything on campus was in reference to the bison. Mommy even got Bison earrings. We loved having the huge pool and diving board as a part of our home!!

We couldn't forget the Big G! Josiah noticed this G all around campus, on the computer screens, on the signs, on the stationary. When he found this big one on the floor in the student center, he insisted we walk by it every chance we could. We had to make a special trip to say goodbye!

Bye bye, famous Gally statue!!

And away we go!!

Friday, August 3, 2007

birds, birds and flying home!

Check out our baby bird friend at Gallaudet!!

There was a little family and we went out to visit them often, and got to see the mother bird feeding her three babies. Shayna and JJ went out on her own and came back with these pics. my little photographer!!

Later our friend Wendy taught Shayna how to make origami birds.

(she learns quick!)

My kids and birds have a lot in common.
And now we are packing up to fly home!!!
Will we make it back in one piece? Can we have as much fun on the way back as we did on the way out? Will our good ol sport van make it? Will we become western frontiersmen?
These questions and more... we'll find out soon. We leave tomorrow morning (saturday).
Bye bye Gally! WE LOVE YOU!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Washington Nationals!

We really miss our Mariners so we decided to check out the local team a few times. Josiah really wanted to see the Astro's since his Tball team was the Astros. So, a few weeks ago we went and had a blast! JJ, Jim (the lone guy from C's program) and I went again just the other night. RFK (above) is really old and not my favorite stadium but the games were fun! It was so low key compared to the Mariners game.

We got there early so that we could see batting practice and were amazed at how few people there were. We walked right up to the fence and easily got an autograph from Brad Ausmus of the Astros. Jo was in hog heaven! We had brought our Astros hats so we got some attention from the Astros players! The boys had balls that they got in NY and the security gaurd noticed that sk did not have a ball so he gave her one of the batting practice balls.

This was our view from the $5 seats in centerfield. The players were actually smaller without the aid of the camera. Fortunatley we took advantage of the free seat upgrade program (nobody checked our tickets so we just moved to better seats).

On the way to our new seats we ran into "Screech" the Nationals mascot. He didn't care for S's Astro hat much. He held it to his nose and shook his head!

This was the view from our new seats. Brad Zimmerman of the Nationals hit his 15th HR of the season and JJ ended up with the ball. The ball actually flew into the bullpen (where the pitchers warm up for those of you non-baseball people) and the security gaurd threw the ball up to JJ. As you can see, he was pretty happy about it.

A few minutes later this nice boy who was hanging out and talking to us decided that Jo needed a ball since JJ and SK got balls. What a deal! We really thanked the boy. He had already gotten a different homerun ball so everybody was happy.

JJ wanted to see if we could get Zimmerman to sign his ball so we gave ourselves another curtesy upgrade at the end of the 8th inning and moved down behind the dugout. We got to see Screech again.

All in all. A very nice night for the Kaler's.

The other night JJ, Jim and I went to see Ken Griffey Jr. and the Reds play the Nationals. Griffey went o-5! The Nats won and we had a good time with Jim. Once again we bought $5 dollar tickets and took advantage of the upgrade program. Jim and I both remarked that in our home parks these upgrade wouldn't be possible because the games at Safeco and Boston are almost always packed so there is no place to move!