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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fun and creative learning games

It's not hard to find learning opportunities with your little toddlers, whether it's looking for squares in the public bathroom, finding a specific color while waiting at restaurant, counting how many steps you have in your house, or explaining what the farmers are doing in the fields around you. But here are several new games we've been playing at our house lately. If you follow our school blog then you've already been seeing them there, but I thought I'd post here too...

Color-by-number picture - turn any coloring page into a color-by-number by writing numbers on the picture and adding a color code for child to follow (allowing child creativity is good too, but this is also a fun way to practice numbers)
Homemade puzzles - use any coloring page, color it, cut it into large random pieces, and have child put it back together. Save it in a zip-lock baggie for another day. Note: Works better to do this on the carpet where pieces can't slide around as much.
Shape puzzle - arrange shape blocks into all different positions (triangle works well), trace around them, and color. Have child figure out how to turn and flip the triangles in order match the pictures on the paper. (I can't wait to get pattern block puzzles this Christmas!)
"Slap" - using a set of SkipBo cards, pull out all the number 3's and numbers 1's (or whatever two numbers you want) and SkipBo cards (the wild card). Now add a small stack of the misc numbers. Set the remaining cards aside. It takes too long to play with ALL the cards, that's all. Now for the game, I flip the cards down onto a pile on the floor pretty quickly, and when Eli sees a number 3 (or whatever number of the week we're doing) he slaps it and then keeps the card. I slap for number 1's, and we both race to slap for the SkipBo cards (whoever gets it first keeps it). Then in the end we count to see who collected the most cards.
UNO - Eli understands and can actually play this game as is. Sometimes I take out the action cards (skips, reverses, etc) though since it's usually just the two of us playing. It's a slooow version of the game, but we have fun and it's great practice for numbers and colors!

Number hunt - this is an old one I know I mentioned a long time ago, but we still play it a lot! On card stock paper make a bunch of number cards in varying colors and sizes. Hide them all over the house. Choose a number of the day (say 4 for example). Child looks for numbers--4's go in his bucket, other numbers go to mommy. I make sure the majority of the cards are of the number of the day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The sun is shining today so I piled the kids in the car and we went for a little drive with the sole purpose of getting some pretty fall pictures. The photos lose a little color when uploaded online, but you can enjoy them anyway. It's hard to feel a scenery with pics so small, so feel free to click on them to view them larger. HAPPY FALL!

love this one, so click on it to view

Monday, October 26, 2009

More on reverence.

If you haven't read my first post on the subject, start there and then come back.

I just read on to the next chapter of Created to Be His Help Meet and there it tells more about what we as wives can do to reverence our hubbies. A lot of it is what I had already thought up in my reflections from last chapter. But it's still so good to hear...
"Reverence is not just how you act; it is how you feel and how you respond with words and with your body language. It is not enough to get up and serve him; your eyes and the quick, carefree swing of your body must indicate your delight to be engaged in serving your man. You cannot fool a man. He can see your heart as well or better than you can. Keep an eye on his dinner plate so you can anticipate his needs. Deference is a hot cup of tea while you take his shoes off after a hard day's work. It is a glad face when he returns after being gone for a short time. It is thankfulness for his attention and affection. Deference to your man is the height of true femininity. It makes a woman beautiful, gracious, and lovely to all, but most especially to him." (137)
Now before I go any further, I just wanted to say that in reading the previous chapter I had to look up the word deference because it was not a term I'd heard before and the dictionary defines deference as respectful submission. Okay, moving on...
"You cannot command your husband to love you, and you have no right to expect him to love you when you are unlovely. But God has provided a way for a woman to cause her husband to love and cherish her. God gave us ladies some keys to the avenues of a man's heart. God made it so that we can actually manipulate him into fulfilling his God-ordained duty. His very nature is made to respond to us if we will only treat him with reverence." (139)
Now there is a lot about that whole paragraph that I don't like, especially about manipulating our husbands. Manipulate is such an ugly word, and that is not at all the intent. The focus should always remain on how we are serving our God by serving and reverencing our husbands. But the paragraph does show how powerful we are to our man and how when we clean up our own actions, the rest will [but not always] fall into place.
"A man will allow his woman many, many, faults, as long as he knows that she thinks he is great. If she will just look into his face with adoration, if she is thankful to him for loving her, he will adore her." (140)
Read on, this is so me!
"Women, on the other hand, want their husbands to perform. They expect them to be spiritual, hardworking, diligent, sensitive, and an attentive parent, or they will take personal offense and begin to campaign to change him into 'their' image. I find it amazing that a woman would marry a MAN and then become angry because he continues to act like one." (141)
Ah, yes, that is so definitely how I am guilty of thinking! BUT I am learning to be thankful for the basics that are so easy to take for granted. Like being thankful for his attention, love, stability, faithfulness, security, etc.

So if you've read my last post about reverencing your husband, then here is a little more to think about! Blessings to you and your marriage!

Monday Meanderings

Bible Study
Start a Bible reading plan for days when I don't have something specific I need to work on.

Memory Verse
"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." Proverbs 16:3

Husband Encouragement
* Working on reverence.
* We're going on a date tomorrow night! MUCH needed!
* "Homemade" bread today.
* Bake some cookies for him to take into work on Wednesday.

Train Them Up
* We're still working on how to make school time work best. Trying to include Hannah but at the same not letting her just be a MAJOR distraction. Any ideas??
* Encourage them to help serve daddy. See this post.

* Make a batch of cookies to thank a friend for towing our van out of the mud last week.
* Start planning for next MOPS meeting.
* Return library books.

Personal Goals
* Look over 101 goals list. It's been such a looong time since I've done this and with less than a year left to complete, I want to keep plugging along!
* Do walking video three times this week. So far I've done it NONE, and I sooo need to, especially this time of year with all the warm-baked goodies and hubby making breakfast for us every day after he comes home from work!
* Start cleaning kids' summer clothes out of dressers and pack away outgrown sizes.

Basement. I hate having to dodge around stuff every time I go down to do laundry.

Menu Plan

Monday - something frozen. anything.
Tuesday - date night!!
Wednesday - omelets, fruit cocktail
Thursday - broccoli sausage breakfast bake, peaches
Friday - pulled pork sandwiches, green beans
Saturday - meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn
Sunday - cauliflower soup, pears

* date night with Kevin on Tuesday! it's been sooo long and amidst this outage it is sooo needed!
* pumpkin patch with MOPS friends on Wednesday
* my mom's coming for a visit Saturday and Sunday
* outage is almost over!! just a week and a half left!

Join with me YOUR meanderings, personalizing it however you'd like! Have a great week, friends!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


So after several weeks of collecting dust on the book shelf, yesterday I finally picked up Created to Be His Help Meet to continue my reading (love this book!) and boy, was I challenged once again in journey of Godly womanhood. Chapter 13 is about reverencing your husband, and after reading this chapter I clearly see this is an area I need to work on and pray about. First, let's get some definitions. The book puts it as this:

1. Obedience is doing what you know the other person wants you to do.
2. Submission is your heart giving over to the other person's will.
3. Reverence is more than just doing what a man expects or demands. It is an act of the woman's will to treat him with a high degree of regard and awe.

The dictionary defines reverence as a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.

I can already see that I fail to do this for my husband. Respect, yes. Awe, not so much.

But here is the most important reminder the author gave to me:
"She [a wife] is reverencing God by reverencing her husband, not because her husband is a fit representative of Christ, and not because he is a worthy substitute, but because God placed her in subjection to her husband... Her faith sees beyond the sinning man to the God who created us all and 'so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son..' John 3:16 If her faithfulness is never rewarded with a new-birth change in her husband, her commitment will not be wasted, for the grace that God is working in her heart is making her supremely fitted to be the bride of Christ." (127)

Because we are all sinners, no man necessarily deserves honor, respect, and reverence. But God calls us as women to do it anyway (Ephesians 5:33). So this is where we need to suck it up and just do it, forgive as Christ forgave us, obeying God's commands.

"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." Proverbs 16:3

"The difference between a good marriage and a lousy one is not found in good husbands and good wives versus bad husbands and bad wives, for all marriages are made up of two sinners with lots of faults. A good marriage is good because one or both of them have learned to overlook the other's faults, to love the other as he or she is and to not attempt to change the other or bring him or her to repentance." (129)

The homework assignment at the end of this chapter was to do a word study on reverence. I spent a good amount of yesterday studying the following passages:

Leviticus 26:1
Joshua 5:13-15
Nehemiah 5:14-16
Psalm 5:7
Jeremiah 44:10
Daniel 6:26-27
Malachi 2:4-6
Acts 10:25
2 Corinthians 7:1
Ephesians 5:21
Colossians 3:22
Hebrews 12:28-29
1 Peter 3:1-2

As I read them, I wrote them in my journal, underlining the word reverence in each passage and circling the other key words that help me understand what reverence really looks like in action. And here is that list:

observe. fell facedown. devoted. bow down. humbled themselves. followed. fear. stood in awe. walked with me. peace. uprightness. fell at his feet. purity. holiness. submit. obey. sincerity of heart. thankful. worship. awe. submissive. purity.

Looking over those words, then I think about my own marriage and how I treat my husband. Do I really reverence my husband? I see how much I fall short. I see a whole other picture of how I can really serve my husband, leading me to the next part of the homework assignment...

* Ways I have not shown reverence toward my husband:
  • I have not "bowed before him." I probably give off an attitude that my needs are equally important.
  • I do not feel, let alone show, awe.
  • I do not particularly show a life of purity and holiness.
  • I do not always have sincerity of heart and instead am guilty of doing things grudgingly underneath it all.
  • I do not always remember to be thankful and often forget to watch what I say to others about my husband.
* Ways to correct:
  • Set everything aside to serve his needs. Encourage children to help as well, saying things like, "Look, Daddy's up! Let's see if he wants a snack!' or "Daddy's home! Let's help him take off his heavy boots!"
  • Work on having a good attitude, showing peace, patience, and a gentle spirit by smiling and showing joy.
  • Stop being so distracted with computer things and work hard to keep the home and have regular Bible study, showing a life of devotion and servanthood.
  • Pray for God to change my heart.
  • Choose words oh so carefully when talking with other women about my husband. Keep the focus on my own struggles and attitude rather than on my husband's actions. Use words like "I'm struggling with..." or "I'm having a hard time being thankful for..."
ALL of those things will require a great amount of prayer on my part in order to actually follow through, but God can do this work in me. And so, as my eyes have been opened to a new life attitude towards my husband, I encourage you to take the challenge as well and reflect on how you can reverence your own husband.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oatmeal Box Silo

I've been keeping the last couple of oatmeal boxes just because they seem like could be used for something cool. Except I don't know what. Well, I finally thought of making a lil' silo and then ran across an actual link for one, so here it is. Isn't it cute?

Here are a few more craft ideas:
* Teddy bear/baby doll cradle and wind sock
* Canadian wind sock, hot dog roaster, kitchen utensil holder, easter basket, patriotic wind sock, drum
* Time capsule
* Gift box

But what about you? Do you use these containers for anything? I keep thinking storage for long paint brushes, but we don't really have any of those. So do you have any other ideas??

Monday, October 19, 2009

Week 2 school lessons

Okay, I finally got week 2 of our school lessons all posted over at the school blog. There's a separate post for each day, so either 1) scroll way down to the first post, 2) click on "Week 2" label on sidebar and still scroll down to read earliest post first, or 3) click here: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

Theme was BUTTERFLIES all week. Go over and see!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Monday Meanderings

With all that's been going on lately I feel like it's been awhile since I've really planned my week. So here we go...

Bible Study
I don't know. I'm so bad about Bible reading. How in the world do you know what to read?? I feel so overwhelmed I end up not reading anything!

Memory Verse
"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." Galatians 6:9

Husband Encouragement
I have a list of things I need for him to do, but I'm really going to try to just take care of any that I can do myself.

Train Them Up
* Memory verse: Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind to one another."
* Don't yell, don't get frustrated, just discipline if necessary.
* Be patient, don't get annoyed over the little things, enjoy my kids!

* Make sure Kevin gets bank forms sent out.
* Call Lowe's about window appointment.

Closets. I had Kevin carry a big baby gate downstairs to the basement last night, and already that closet looks soo much nicer! Now to tackle the bedroom and guest room closets. Nothing major, just need some attention.

Menu Plan - Hannah's getting some teeth right now (those pesky eye teeth) and being a super picky eater for the time being, so this week's menu is for her. Hopefully the things she's sure to eat.

Monday - chicken chili, oranges (this has been on the menu for a couple weeks now, but I keep not wanting to thaw and cook the chicken!) But in order to avoid the grocery store today, I WILL DO IT!
Tuesday - quesadillas, apple
Wednesday - mommy's night out!!!
Thursday - pork tenderloin (? depends on what I find at the store), sweet potato casserole
Friday - hot dogs, green beans, banana
Saturday - spaghetti and bread sticks
Sunday - breakfast for dinner maybe?

* Going to the city with a friend to take our kids to the children's museum! Her husband's on this wacky night shift too, so it'll be fun to get out on an actual outing!
* Ladies night out with church friends on Wednesday.
* Glucose test on Thursday morning. And how is that fun, you ask? Because of the whole process plus a regular appointment afterwards, I have childcare lined up and will get to do all that alone. This will mean some quiet time away. Very much needed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It's been a crummy day and I've been in a lousy mood. There was a lot of anger, frustration, tears, and just plain feeling tired and weary. I am so beyond tired of Kevin's work schedule right now and there are still several weeks to go. It's nearly impossible to get anything done (like arrange to get new windows on the house before winter!) when he's absolutely not home! The sink needs fixed, the basement needs cleaned up, recyclables are taking over our house, and the yard needs work. I'm tired of the kids crying every minute, fetching them something to drink, having to wipe their butts, and breaking up fights. And it's so hard to do housework while Kevin is upstairs sleeping. Laundry piles high, clothes get strewn about, and the floors remain unvacuumed. It's so demanding, so constant, and so exhausting. Yet...this is just how I feel right now... I must continue to worship the ground my husband walks on while no one gives a care to Cinderelly slaving away at home. Ugh, my own attitude disgusts me, but I don't know how to get it out of me, how to get my head to think clearly again, how to feel peace....

I know this is so sinful, and I'm just really struggling.

Late this afternoon before heading to church for a ladies fellowship (with kids in tow!) I remembered that it's Thankful Thursday. And I knew that before this day was over I wanted to STOP and really think about what I could be thankful for. And whatdoyaknow, tonight's devotion at church was exactly about that! I need to refocus back on God and choose thankfulness, choose an "attitude of gratitude". So that's what I'm going to try to do.

Lamentations 3:22-25 "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him; The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him."

I love this whole passage, so here it is. Philippians 4:4-9 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

1 Thessalonians 5:16 "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

So... a moment for praise before heading off to bed here....

* I am thankful for our women at church and the ministries that we have going there. It's always so lovely to fellowship with them and to share our hearts as we encourage one another.
* I am thankful for dear boy Colin who played with my kids tonight so I could be in the fellowship meeting. He's a young teenager who loves kids, and it was such a blessing for him to volunteer his time like that for US, me being the one mom who doesn't know what to do with her kids when daddy's not available! It really meant a lot!
* I am thankful for my kids and getting to spend so much time with them. As tiring and frustrating as it can be, I wouldn't want it any other way. I choose to stay home with them, so I need to remember it as a blessing, even on the crummy days.
* I am thankful for my extended family and getting to spend time with them this past weekend. It's been such a long time!
* I am thankful for Kevin's job and all that it provides for our family. This outage is just a part of it. It's all or nothing, so I guess I take this too with thankfulness.
* I am thankful for my new wonderfully-smelling candle from my prayer partner!! I can't wait to burn it tomorrow!
* I am thankful for cozy warm blankets to sleep under at night and space heaters so we don't have to crank up our heat yet.

And with that, it's got me thinking about bed, so I'm signing off now, and hoping to wake up tomorrow with a fresh attitude! Love to you all, my friends!!

Join in and share your thankful heart, and link up with Elyse at Following Him or Lynne at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Highlights from our trip

You can read more about our Oklahoma trip here, but this is a short list of highlights/more things I learned from our travels.

* Kids will still wake up at their exact normal times, despite having a room with no outside windows. I was hoping they might sleep later but nope! Both kids woke up every morning at their usual times right on the nose. Darn internal clocks!

* Don't EVER forget your entire bathroom bag of stuff! It's a real pain!

* Again, travel DVD players are sooo wonderful! With our 9-hr drive through the most boring states of Kansas and Oklahoma, we did two movies going and two movies coming back. There were definitely NO car games involving our surroundings (BINGO, trucks, numbers, etc), seeing as there were NO houses, farms, exits, or cars around us!

* Packing picnic lunches and a cooler of milks and drinks for the van works really well.

* Hannah is perhaps big enough to not require a pack-n-play everywhere we go! She did so great sleeping on the floor at our hotel room!

* You can get your 3-yr old to nap at noon. Just tire him out in the swimming pool (or bath tub).

* It's really not weird to just hang out in a hotel room bathroom reading a book or coloring while waiting for kids to fall asleep so I can sneak out.

* Letting the kids ride on quarter machine rides is a simple surprise fun!

* With Kevin working several weeks with outage at the power plant, we're settling into a whole routine that doesn't involve him, and I don't like that.

I'm tired and counting the days 'til this schedule is over, but we're plugging along. And this week I'm really trying to get the house back in order. It's hard getting things done when daddy's sleeping upstairs, but right now it's just out of control and driving us all crazy I think. So be watching for some tackles! Until then, I'll be busy at work!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A typical afternoon around our place

the shed straight out our back door
Lazy cats.

Wouldn't it be nice to just lay around like this for just one day??

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


(photo from their menu)

I'm not one to ever really try anything new when it comes to restaurant food. I always order my favorites. But I did this time, and man, it was FABULOUS! Red Robin's bruschetta chicken burger.... Yumm... GO. TRY IT! Trust me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

As if I wasn't already an emotional mess....

Our MOPS group is participating in Operation Christmas Child, and I was showing Eli a short video clip of the children opening their presents. I was already teary just watching that. I explained to him that while we were at the store we were going to pick some small presents for a little boy his age and I wanted him to help me pick some toys. He says to me excitedly, "We don't need to get anything at the store, Mommy. He can have mine! I can share mine!"

Wow. Now that made me get all choked up. Sweet boy.

Monday Meanderings

It's a short week for us, but we must continue to be productive in the three days that we have before going on another weekend trip, this time to Oklahoma for a family wedding. Kevin's still chugging along with his night shift. We try to eat around 4:15 so we can at least have one meal together with him, but that doesn't always happen. Either I haven't had time to get something ready, or more likely we're just not hungry yet. Either way it's still a loong evening for the kids and I, so we've been trying to do errands and outings in the morning and do our school time in the evening. "School" really doesn't end up taking very long (30-45 minutes total) but it sure helps to have some sort of plan for evening time, otherwise we just sit around being bored and feel tired. *sigh* Only 5 more weeks of this... I can't wait 'til it's done. I've been doing okay with the kids, but I just feel so tired. I wish I had more discipline to get myself to bed earlier, but I usually end up working on things in the evening, whether it's posting pics to the blog, like last night, or working on activity plans. And unfortunately because of night shift, Kevin's days off don't really mean all that much; it just means he gets to stay up all night at home instead of at work. He still has to sleep during the day so day outings for the family are still hard to squeeze in (like how I want to go to a pumpkin patch). But I'm trying to be thankful for the time that we do have, even when it's short. This is only for a month and then we'll be back to his rotating shifts. Anyhoo, on with the week, huh!

Bible Study
Wow, I guess I haven't done anything for awhile! I will continue my fruits of the spirit word study, this week doing kindness.

Memory Verse
Psalm 90:14 "Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days."

Husband Encouragement
be thankful for the time we have with him! This week we made him sugar cookies to take with him into work, next week will be the blackberry cheese pie.

Train Them Up
* we're working on how to communicate. what a concept! =)
* obedience training with Hannah (it took 30 minutes of crying and spankings last night at dinner before she finally put a toy down so she could eat. whew!)
* memory verse: Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away anger."

* Hmm, maybe I should empty our suitcases from our last trip already so we can pack for the trip this weekend
* Get things together for MOPS: mail out reminder postcards, buy snacks, plan activities
* Send out bills
* Get some mail out
* Prepare Operation Christmas Child box

Master bedroom. I just found a new bed set for our room, we've never really had one, just quilts people have given us. So now I want to get it all cleaned up and looking nice again. Well, except for those quilts that are hanging over our windows keeping it dark for Kevin! haha Now I can't wait to paint!

Menu Plan

Monday - broccoli cheese soup, oranges
Tuesday - chicken chili, pears
Wednesday - French dip, green beans, apple

* MOPS planning meeting Tuesday
* Toddler story time Wednesday (this time for Eli's age group)
* Leaving for Oklahoma Thursday (9 hr drive alone with kids. pray it goes as well as last time!)
* My cousin's wedding Saturday!

Have a great week, friends! What's on your agenda??

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A blog for school stuff.

Go see.

Sorry to throw another one at you, but they're kind of long posts and boring if you're not interested in that, so I thought I'd put it in it's own special place. Or maybe it was because the school blog backgrounds were so darn cute! Either way, it's there now!

One week away from home taught me...

* I under-estimate my kids' ability to sit nicely in the car. Hannah is usually fussy for the 8-minute drive to town all the time, so I was dreading the travel. We did a 8+ hr drive two days in a week and they did great! Not a fuss! (Except for a short period of time that Hannah was pointing to something in the toy basket saying "That, That!" and I had no idea what she wanted but refused anything else.)

* Travel DVD players are a great invention! I become one of those moms, and I never wanted to be that. I think it's important for kids to learn to entertain themselves with books, crayons, quiet toys, and car games, and also to be a part of the journey, learning what things they can see along the way. But when attempting a long drive by myself with the kids, I knew I could really use some help. We didn't use movies a lot, but for that hour to hour and a half before lunch, it was a great break!

* After observing someone else's parenting techniques and having a week of full-on toddler battles, I saw several areas in which I need to work on: Instead of just telling Eli not to fuss about something, I can work on teaching him proper responses. Like "When someone takes your toy away, you can say _____." He's already been responding really well to this. I need to have more patience about the things that don't really matter, like annoying noises, so I can focus more on the heart issues that do matter. I was feeling like I had to do it all, but knowing there are some things I can let go will give me more strength for the real deals.

* I need to expect more from Hannah. We've already been doing obedience training with her for awhile now, expecting her to come when we call, swatting her if she touches something we said No to or when she's squirming in her chair, etc. But I realized she's saying enough words now that I should be requiring more from her when it comes to saying "please, thank you, all done, down, toy, book, etc." And now she's already been saying "please" without prompting. Last night the kids were playing in Eli's room while I was folding laundry in the next room, and something happened and I heard Eli say, "Hannah, can you say sorry at me?" and she did! I'd never tried that one with her! I guess maybe I should! Sometimes she'll totally melt down after a spanking, so instead of giving up knowing she's not in a responsive state and would come to me for comfort rather than out of obedience, I'm going to just wait out the tears and then try again.

So back to work we are with our parenting! By the way, you can read more about our trip HERE at our family blog.