Barcelona, Park Guell + La Sagrada Familia


  Barcelona was the first stop on my trip with Mary Polly to Europe in September.  We spent two nights there, exploring this beautiful city before boarding the Carnival Breeze for a 12 Night Mediterranean Cruise. Read all about our first day in Barcelona here.  Our second day in Barcelona started with a quick stop for pastries and coffee near our hotel.  We were off early on the Metro to see the works of Antoni Gaudi, starting with Park Guell. We wandered the forest paths of Park Guell, a space I imagine to be a welcome bit of peace in … Continue reading

{grateful} Colorado Wildflowers


Colorado Wildflowers Mary Polly took a lot of pictures on our trip to Colorado this year.  In fact, everyone took a few pictures of their own and it is fun as I go through them to see our adventures from different eyes.  The boys take lots of pictures of rocks and sticks. Mary Polly took most of the pictures on one of our hikes outside of Aspen, including this series of Colorado wildflowers.  I love them!  Looking at them reminds me of all the amazing color we got to see this summer, in spite of less rainfall this year. I … Continue reading

Two Weeks in Colorful Colorado

So as I’ve been going through pictures, I realized I never put up all the pictures from our trip to Colorado last summer.  I even had the ones for the blog all picked out and in a folder. I know what happened. Every year, when our time is up in the Rockies, I drive home while Taido stays in Colorado for more adventures.  Our kids all start school just a couple of days after we get back.  We miss open house.  We throw together some school supplies and last year’s uniforms.  The kids go back to school.  We’re all exhausted, … Continue reading

camping in aspen


After a few glitches on the road trip out (flat tires and lost keys and such), we had a wonderful two weeks in Colorado and Utah.  We saw new beauties and old favorites! Here are a few highlights of our first few days, which we spent in Aspen, Colorado at Difficult Campground. The Aspens and trails right around our campground were gorgeous. Lots of exploring happened right around our camper. Everyone was thrilled to be able to dig out warm clothes after June in Arkansas! Our second day we hiked a familiar Aspen trail, the Maroon Bells. It is breathtaking. … Continue reading

spring break

For the first time since 2007, I did not go to Colorado with Taido for spring break. We split up just like we did five years ago.  Taido took the oldest (and Tara) with him for the always epic Snowcamp in Colorado and I took the younger three to see my sister in Wheaton, Illinois. My mom went with me and we got an early start on Friday morning so we could be at Anna and Robert’s by suppertime. My sister is the head pastry chef at a charming little spot called Honey and she does catering on the side. … Continue reading

Caribbean Cruise Notes: Road Trip to Our Cruise Port

Julie's iphone 714

This is the third in a series of posts about a super fun birthday cruise that was planned by my friends, Sarabeth and Rhonda.  Read the first here. And the second here. The Story of 12 Women Who Went On a Cruise, Part 3: Road Trip to Our Cruise Port The day finally arrived for us to leave!  Lots of us put our kids on a bus that was going to Kids Across America (a camp in Missouri) early that morning. Then around 10am we met at our church (NOTE: This was NOT a church trip!).  Whitney and I had … Continue reading

it all starts tomorrow night

We’re getting ready for Vacation Bible School around here.  Three Chinos are attending and the other three are helping.  Tonight we were driving home and Cole was talking about doing the puppets at VBS.  Then he asked me what I was doing. Me: I’m telling Bible stories. Cole: What Bible stories are you going to tell? Me: Well, tomorrow night’s story is about Gideon. Ben, from the back of the van: I LOVE GIDEON! Me: Really, Ben, why? Ben: That story is SO COOL! Me, a little unsure that Ben really knows who Gideon is: Tell me the story Ben. … Continue reading

home for a week

I was remembering today a conversation that I overheard in a crowded train compartment from Florence to Venice when Taido and I were in Italy a few years ago. We had just spent several days in Florence that I had spent years carefully planning, seeing paintings and sculptures that I had only dreamed I might ever lay eyes on. Every moment had been perfect, with glorious meals in between visits to museums. We had walked and walked through the city, making friends with its sacred passageways and reveling in the delight of being together in such a place. So, it … Continue reading

i’m sure i could have borrowed some or at least have found some on sale

this picture represents the near $200 mistake i made in forgetting that we would need snow boots. snow boots in the snow. of course. after a day of wet tennis shoes and snow covered socks, we trekked into town and acquired these. so if you ever need to borrow children’s snow boots, we now have four sizes. right now three pairs of them are out in the snow, keeping those chino toesies warm and dry.