Monday, March 29, 2010

My almost balloon ride ...

I don't know if I am disappointed ... or relieved! Since last August's Jones reunion, I've been looking forward to this year's reunion in Canton where there was the possibility of going up, up, UP in a beautiful hot air balloon ... ME! In a hot air balloon! Floating with the clouds! High as the birds! Me with my camera, snapping great pictures! I love heights. I have always, always imagined the thrill of riding in a hot air balloon.

On very clear days ~ if the weather was just perfect ~ when my boys were very young, now and then hot air balloons would come near our apartment. You could hear them almost before you could see them ... we would hop in our car and ... I loved watching the boys' faces as we chased around Kent County trying to get as close as we could to them. Where would they land? It was so much fun counting them up high in the sky, waving to the people up there, wishing ... for flight!

However, as much as I love HEIGHTS, I really HATE roller coasters and just about every single amusement park ride I have ever been on. Anything that spins, twirls, zooms or dives I find horrifying! I remember being coaxed onto a ride at Michigan's Adventure ~ it was like a gigantic sideways swing and it looked kind of fun ~ all the kids were riding it and ... wouldn't I like to try it? I got on and it started swinging back and forth, back and forth, higher and higher and higher ... and soon I was begging (crying) for them to stop the horrid machine and let me off!!! I was SO sick. And then, last summer at the zoo when I rode the zip line (screaming all the way down) ... that was nice and high ... but WAY too fast. Whenever my mind looked ahead to this summer and I contemplated that balloon ride (that I officially signed up for!) I wondered ... would it take sudden drops? Twist and turn? Go too fast?!! I admit I was a little worried.

When I was talking it over with Andrew and Sabrina, Andrew said he would NEVER EVER ride on a hot air balloon (this from a man who jumped out of a perfectly good airplane at 10,000 feet ... and took Sabrina with him!) ... too risky, he said. Where on earth was Andrew's sense of adventure I wondered?

Well, we received an e-mail today from Mr. Jones's cousin about the reunion this year and regrets were given that the hot air balloon rides were NOT going to happen. Sigh. I guess I'll never know the thrill ... or the adventure ... or possibly the regret of going up in a hot air balloon ~ well, at least not this summer.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Grandbaby #11 has been born ...

"You guided my conception and formed me in the womb.
You clothed me with skin and flesh ...
You gave me life and showed me your
UNFAILING love ..."
JOB 10:10-11

Late yesterday afternoon, we received an e-mail from Nicolas that Rachel was in the birthing process, and Liam would soon be born. His due date was April 29 ... so almost five weeks early, he was making his arrival.

Grandpa Jones went out to his usual Thursday night get together with his train buddies, so he was out late. Our phone rang last night at about 11:45. I had been sleeping. Grandpa Jones answered and received the good news of Liam's birth. We don't have many details, but if you click on the link to The Jones Chronicle on my sidebar, you can read what Nick has written so far about the emergency C-section and what transpired. We do know that everyone is okay ~ baby Liam is being closely observed, but doing well ~ and Nick is bringing the other three children up to see their new baby brother and Rachel later on today. Nicolas says Liam has red hair ~ I wonder what Lottie will think of that?! Liam weighed 5 pounds 13 ounces ... a nice weight for such an early fellow!

Congratulations to Nick and Rachel. We send much love to all of you!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Grace in a new light ...

I have long been a fan of Michael Card. He is a singer/song writer ... from my generation. I have almost all of his albums ... but not enough of his books. The Christmas before last, I received some money as a gift and I went online through Amazon and purchased this book, along with a few CD's ~ a couple of Michael Card albums that I used to have on cassette tape had gone bad, so I upgraded (!) to a CD for those. I put this book on my coffee table, intending to read it right away. I got started on it, but then since I am most always reading several books simultaneously (depending on where I am in the house), I got distracted, laid this one back down and kind of forgot about it ... until a few weeks ago.

The season of Lent was beginning and I had determined to focus my attention on the gospel accounts of those last days in the life of Jesus, along with some of the prophetic passages too. And then I remembered this book, picked it up, and ... wow!

Are you familiar with Michael Card? I have been fortunate enough to actually hear him in concert on two occasions, many years ago. One of those times was at Calvin College, back in the early 90's (I think) and I was struck very much with how quiet-spoken he was ... how UNimpressed he was with himself ... how humbly he spoke of his writings and beautiful music.

"A Violent Grace" was published by Multnomah Press in 2000. I've never looked at grace like this before, nor have I knelt at the cross and actually visualized what Christ's suffering looked like in this detail. Michael Card is an excellent writer. His love of the Lord is so evident in all he writes. He is constantly amazed by grace. He challenges his readers to consider, long and hard, the violence done to Christ to win our forgiveness and salvation.

Our former pastor, Dr. Ed Dobson, is very slowly dying of ALS. He has often said that it's not the dying that bothers him, it's the "getting dead" that's hard for him to handle. I grew up celebrating Easter my whole life ... without spending much time thinking about the "getting dead" that Jesus did for me.

There are 21 short devotional chapters in this beautiful little book. My faith has been deepened through the reading of it. It's still available on-line, through Amazon. Just thought I'd share it with you ...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day #23: Finally home!

We drove into Grand Rapids about two hours ago, stopped by the post office to pick up three weeks of mail, went to Meijer's to purchase a few necessities, and then pulled into our beautiful snow-free driveway! We've unloaded the van, dumped our laundry in the basement, carried our suitcases upstairs, put the groceries away ... and now we intend to do absolutely nothing until we have to show up to church tomorrow morning at 8:30.

Presently, I'm sitting at MY desk, instead of a tiny hotel desk ~ it's completely cluttered and rather ugly ~ but at least it is mine ~ back in our totally chaotic office (although most of the chaos is Grandpa Jones's doing). We are feeling a little under the weather. It's okay, though. We are home. We had been with a whole bunch of really sick little kids at church the few weeks prior to our trip, and then Sabrina was very sick while we visited (and Jackson too) in Austin (head colds and flu) ... so it seems inevitable that both Grandpa Jones and I might come down with a little sickness of some sort. I had prayed that our health would stay strong the entire time we traveled, and it did ... so if we must get sick, at least we were able to enjoy all three families in Texas while we had the chance.

Our travel today was completely uneventful. The weather was gorgeous. I took about a dozen pictures as we sped (yes! Grandpa Jones actually drove the speed limit!) along the highway, but none of them are worth showing you.

After taking most of four days to return home to Michigan, I am feeling the huge distance there is between Michigan and Texas. Sometimes it feels SO far away that it might as well be another country altogether ... and we did catch Nicholas one time during a conversation we were having with he and Rachel in Bandera saying, "When you guys return to the states (meaning when Grandpa Jones and I returned to Michigan) ..." and we had to laugh because we often joke that Texans think they live in a country all their own.

I don't have huge goals for the rest of the week. Since Grandpa Jones rebuilt my computer, my camera will not upload in the usual manner using the cable that came with it, so I've had to depend on his card reader to do the job ... and then it dumps all the pictures in one huge file, not by date. So we need to work on that problem this week so that I can independently upload my camera again and not have to bother Grandpa Jones all the time. We have our usual volunteer activities on the calendar, but nothing too strenuous. I have a few cards to design and get in the mail ... but other than that, nothing too pressing. I hope to edit more of our Texas trip pictures and post some of the best ones in the next little while. Until then...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day #22: Springfield, Illinois

We were hoping for better driving conditions today, but as we pulled out of Tulsa this morning, we were greeted with the same high winds and heavy snow as yesterday! All of the Tulsa area churches were closed.

We crossed over into Missouri by mid-morning, the temperature had risen to just about 32 degrees and we were getting a rain/sleet/snow mixture ...
It was kind of a miserable combination, and the sleet made a terrible racket on the van ... so loud! We saw a number of vehicles in ditches again today.

We ate a quick lunch in Springfield, Missouri, where we listened to lots of horror stories from folk who had traveled south from Kansas City where a foot of snow had fallen, to one family who had driven from northern Arkansas where they had received 9" of snow. We had really hoped to make it all the way home to Michigan today, but it wasn't to be!

After lunch, we drove through pouring down rain all the way to St. Louis. We did have about a 45 minute break with dry pavement, but we encountered fog and then back to heavy rain after that.

Thankfully, we had brought another book on CD along with us; so we listened to a quite a few chapters of "The Broker" by John Grisham, a very fast-paced story so typical of him, and the time passed a bit more pleasantly. It gets a little tedious to be shut up inside the van, not even able to see out the windows (practically), for hours and hours! And the endless trucks!
But look! FINALLY no snow! Green grass! We have reached Illinois and are now resting for the night in Springfield. I think we are about two hours from Chicago, so depending on traffic through that area, we should have about 5-6 hours of driving to do tomorrow. I'm very much looking forward to just returning to Grand Rapids and the quiet of home!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day #21: Tulsa tonight

Today is the first day of spring ~ and I suppose in some parts of the country, it looked like it ~ but NOT where we were traveling! We had spent last night in Amarillo and I had looked through our AAA Texas Tour book and noticed that just up the road about 35 miles was a little place named Groom where one of the largest crosses in the nation has been erected. I thought perhaps Grandpa Jones and I could stop there and take a look around. After all, our tour book said you could walk around the grounds, look at a replica of the Shroud of Turin, see life-sized bronze sculptures of the last hours of Christ ... all for a small donation.

However, the weather channel was very accurate about today's weather ~ Amarillo didn't exactly receive the 6-8" of predicted snow ~ where we were, there was about 3" this morning ~ but the temp was in the low 20's, the wind was gusting, there were white-out conditions, the highway was sheer ice (but not smooth ice, the frozen slush kind of ice ~ so it was all uneven and bumpy ... but still very slippery) ... so we passed by Groom and will just have to visit it on another trip.
I think if I had realized HOW wild and crazy the conditions were out here today, I would have begged to stay safe and warm at the hotel in Amarillo. But as we gazed out the front door of the hotel, it didn't look so terrible ... so we ventured out!
We finally got out of Texas and crossed the Oklahoma state line a little after 10:00 this morning. It was very slow going. The speed limit is 70, but we were averaging about 45 mph. There were many cars and trucks with Oklahoma and Texas license plates that were actually speeding along ... but we avoided those people as much as we possibly could ... we did find several of those folk who had zoomed past us down in ditches further up the road.
This is NOT the kind of snow that I find beautiful. In fact, it was kind of terrifying in places. However, any of you who know Grandpa Jones and have snickered at how slowly he drives, must be told that he is an extremely SAFE driver ... so I really was glad he was behind the wheel. I would never even consider taking the wheel in these conditions. I took a few pictures of the folk who did NOT stay on the road ...

I lost count ... really ... of how many vehicles slid off the road. We witnessed a NEAR slide-off just in front of us that nearly took my breath away, but somehow the fellow was able to regain control of his car and stay on the road. We stopped in a place called Clinton to eat lunch and freshen up a bit at about noon and then it took another two hours to reach Oklahoma City. We sailed through that stretch of road pretty easily because near the bigger cities, the roads had been plowed and were much drier. However, as we neared Tulsa, the snow was starting to pick up again, the roads were getting slicker all the time ...
... and at about 4:00 this afternoon, we decided to call it a day! We are very thankful we had a safe day. We had wanted to make much better progress, but had to face the fact that we were just plain tired out from fighting the wind and the ice. I think Grandpa Jones is pretty exhausted. Tulsa is presently under a winter storm warning until about noon tomorrow. They say they have received nearly 6" of snow (although it looks more like 3-4" at the hotel), but expect another 3-6" over night. We'd appreciate your prayers as we travel.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Day #20: We're in Amarillo!

It was 77 degrees yesterday in El Paso. This evening we are at a hotel in Amarillo, TX and we are under a WINTER STORM WARNING. It is 33 degrees! We've been checking the weather channel, watching the storm front, and our pathway back to Michigan puts us right on the southeast border of a mixture of rain, snow and blizzard type winds ... doesn't that sound like pleasant traveling weather?

We left Ft. Bliss at about 7:30 this morning under the clearest blue skies! We decided to take our usual route home, up I-54, and that puts us in New Mexico practically right away ... and then we travel northeast through New Mexico and back into the Texas panhandle on I-40. However, our GPS gadget took us off 54 and onto 70 at Tularosa through the Sacremento and Capitan mountains. You have to TRY to imagine how beautiful this drive was today! I snapped a few pictures as we sped along at 70 mph, but they are so inadequate to show the majesty and beauty of this part of the country. The LORD is a great God ... the great King ...
He owns the depth of the earth
and even the mightiest of mountains are his!
PSALM 95:3 and 4
I-70 is a very crooked road surrounded by these gorgeous cliffs and rocks, deep valleys with rustic ranch houses, cattle, fabulous horses ... my eyes were delighted with every mile we traveled! Much of this stretch of road is in the middle of an Apache Indian Reservation. There were lots of little antique shacks along the way with a bunch of Indian stuff ... but Mr. Jones was NOT inclined to stop and take a look ...
Throughout Texas we have seen crosses erected on top of mountains. I like the idea very much. What a better way to remind folk of the love of God than to point them to the cross!

We left the mountains behind (sadly) at Picacho and headed on towards Roswell ...
We rolled into Roswell at about noon and ate lunch there. I snapped this sign on the side of a real estate building.
The name of this little dive is Wienerschnitzel's and it boasts to be "The world's largest hot dog chain" ... have you ever in your life heard of it? Well ... having never heard of another hot dog chain in my life, I guess I have to believe this claim! :)

We hope the weather isn't TOO severe tomorrow. We're going to get an early start and hope to stay on the edge of that front and continue on our way back to Michigan. I'll try to keep in touch along the way.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day #19: At the zoo ... and other stuff too!

Today was our last day in El Paso with Jesse's family. We had clear blue skies and a high of 77 degrees ~ perfect. We headed over to the zoo in the early morning, arrived and entered without one single line or problem, and saw every animal possible to see ... mind you, there was a great many habitats EMPTY with signs saying that the area was under renovation and animals were yet to come, etc. But thankfully, there were enough nice exhibits and interesting animals to competely fill our morning and into the early afternoon. Grandpa Jones took 100's of pictures of the animals, and the children watching the animals ... but I am too tired to look through all of them tonight. Plus, it takes about five minutes to load just one photograph onto this blog ~ so I'm going to wait until I am home in Grand Rapids and then show you the best of those pictures.

The rest of our day was basically a re-run of previous days ... enjoyable, but nothing really new to share with you. Except I do have one sweet little story to tell you about. The kiddos and I had been playing outdoors around their neighborhood, flying more airplanes, and exploring around. Somehow we got talking about how people throw their trash on God's beautiful earth and make it look ugly. I was telling the children that we really should be careful to throw our trash away and not just throw stuff on the ground. So a little bit later, Emma came running out of the house with two trash bags ~ one for her and one for me ~ and we very enthusiastically picked up trash around the neighborhood! Emma was so delighted to "clean up the earth" and it was wonderful to share her happiness.

We also had a really nice storytime tonight. You know how I love children's literature, and in the past few months, I purchased some new books to read to the kids. We read "Piper", a story of a little dog who grew up and had to leave its mom and go live with an angry and cruel owner. The story was real sad in places, but it had such a happy ending. We also read, "Lord of the Dance" (based on the song) ~ except mainly we looked at the beautiful pictures of Jesus in this book and talked about His life a little bit ... and then I sang them the song! "Grandpa's Soup" was another book we read, as well as "The Best Cat Ever." You should see these three children engage with a good story. It's such a neat experience to see them light up, look at the pictures, anticipate what is coming next, and really enter into the story.

For our bedtime story tonight, we read from "The Jesus Storybook Bible" (which is my very favorite children's Bible book) ~ we did the story of the sermon on the mount and how Jesus was talking to people who were worried about not having enough food and clothes and being taken care of. The illustrations are wonderful in this book and the story re-written so that children can really understand it. And then we talked about the never-ending love of God for each of them. We had such a good time!

Jesse returned home mid-afternoon from his field training, so we did get to visit with him the rest of the day. I was very thankful for the time with him. I know it seems like we travel around only to see our grandchildren, but our children are very important to us as well.
Jes showed us some of his equipment and explained what all of it was. He's got a lot of really expensive stuff ~ protective gear and stuff like that ~ and it was fun to see it up close and hear all about his soldiering.

And this is a sample of an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) or as the soldiers joke, Meals Rejected by Ethiopians. This particular MRE was a vegetarian one (!) and included vegetarian lasagna, crackers, peanut butter, a fruit cocktail, other dehydrated stuff and a heat pack (just add water) to help you heat up your food when out in the desert in a faraway war zone like Iraq. Jesse is scheduled to re-deploy no later than August. He has not received a definite date yet, but that's the general time frame.

So ... here we are at the end of another Texas trip. Whew. Grandpa Jones and I are exhausted. But so thankful that we have good health, a reliable vehicle, and enough finances to allow us to travel to see family that we love dearly. We are sad to leave everyone again, but we do trust God to watch over our family, lead them in His ways, and work His kingdom and righteousness into their lives. We truly do have a great and powerful God!

We are leaving El Paso very very early tomorrow morning. The weather has predicted high winds here tomorrow ... and a SAND STORM ... I really would like to see what a sand storm looks like, but Jesse says a sand storm is impossible to photograph and quite an uncomfortable experience.

We'll try to post along the way if there is anything interesting to tell you about; otherwise, we hope to make it back to Grand Rapids sometime Sunday.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day #18: A lovely day ... but no zoo!

Do you remember me telling you that we planned to go to the zoo today? We planned our whole day around it! Emma had a doctor appointment this morning at 11 a.m. so Di took Emma to the doc and the boys and Grandpa and I stayed home. We knew we would have the whole afternoon ahead of us to visit the zoo, so we just relaxed and played around the yard while Ems and Di were away. We made a bunch of stencil pictures first, but then Grandpa suggested that I make some paper airplanes and launch them outside ... there was such a cool and pleasant breeze today where they would fly so nice!
We had SO much fun with our airplanes. Christopher was especially delighted. And he is very very good at throwing an airplane so that it catches the wind just right. I made each of the boys two different kinds of airplanes, and then I made some for Grandpa and I to fly as well. We flew them all over the yard ... Christopher's landed in a tree twice ~ but we were tall enough to reach it ~ and one of mine landed way up high ... on the roof of their house! Christopher thought that was so funny. Paper airplanes are the one of the cheapest forms of entertainment you can find ... it was my favorite thing to do when in Austin with Jackson and Karis ... and now, it was a favorite with Chris and Matthew too!

Di and Emma came home from the doctor appointment, I made Emma an airplane while Di fixed lunch and then after we ate, we got ready for the zoo. Everyone was so excited about seeing the new lion exhibit and anticipation was pretty high. So you can imagine how disappointed we were when we arrived downtown at the zoo at about 1:45 to find the parking lot FULL, cars diverted to an outside lot, and the entrance line about 10 blocks long just to buy tickets to enter the zoo!

We parked in the outside lot, walked over to the zoo, got in line with just about every other family in El Paso to purchase our tickets. There was no shade. The children were hot. The line was moving very slow ... and then we found out that the zoo closes at 4:00 in the afternoon on Wednesdays. We should have known that ahead of time, but we didn't think of checking on closing time when it was spring break and an obviously money-making week for places like the zoo. Why close the park at 4:00 in the afternoon? How absurd.

We decided that since it's costly enough to purchase a zoo ticket, we should really get more than two hour's worth out of it ... so we are going to return tomorrow morning and do our zoo visit then. We grownups were cool with Plan B. But there were three little kiddos who were very disappointed.

Diana had heard about another place downtown that was having kind of an underwater sea exhibit kind of thing ... I've forgotten the name of it ... so we did drive there and walk around the place for a little while. However, most of what was there was actually for older children who knew more about nautical history, etc.
This is Matthew playing in the toy yellow submarine that was on exhibit ...

And Emma making her own sea colony ...

Probably the coolest thing there was the STINGRAYS ... not as cool of an exhibit as we saw at the John Ball Zoo last summer because this was a small tank that was about three feet off the floor and only had four stingrays ... but they were very soft to touch and the boys and Diana were really happy to spend time by the tank and visit with them. Emma was kind of put out that there was no food to feed to them, so she stayed at a nearby exhibit that interested her.

After we toured the exhibit, we went to a pet store so that Diana could get some food for her various pets, and she also picked out a new lizard to take home with us. It's probably not a lizard, but I've forgotten its biological name.
After supper, we spent a good long hour reading books. Emma read us the entire "Green Eggs and Ham" book, using a lot of expression. She did a nice job of it! And then since I had brought a whole bag full of books from home, I let the kids pick out stories they wanted me to read. We read another Christopher Churchmouse chapter, we read the story of Queen Esther as well as Joseph and his brothers, and two stories about Moses.
We made more paper airplanes after that. Look how interesting Christopher colored his!
This is one of the lizard pets that are around their house ... I'll have to get the exact name of it from Diana tomorrow. It's a pretty interesting animal!

Well, tomorrow is another day ... hopefully it will include the zoo. It is our last day in El Paso. Jesse is supposed to come home from his field assignment, so we'll at least get to spend some time with him before we leave town.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day #17: The things we did today ...

We did a bunch of stuff today, but ... my head has ached all day ~ I woke up in the middle of the night with a headache and I haven't been able to get rid of it all day ... so I'm posting these pictures without much comment. It takes terribly long to upload pictures via Blogger at Ft. Bliss!
All of us enjoyed about two hours of painting this morning. Christopher did three pictures, Matthew two, and Ems and I only got one each finished. We girls are a little bit more meticulous with our painting ... the boys just let loose and really enjoy themselves with less perfect, but equally beautiful results! Here's what some of the pictures (above) turned out like. We talked about each Bible story as we painted and it was a really good time.
Christopher was the first one finished with his paintings, so as he took a little TV break in Emma's room, Grandpa Jones snapped a few pictures of him ...

This is Sophie. She is a much loved dog. Diana bathed her this afternoon and this is what she looked like afterwards. Very cute. She barks a lot if she is excited or if she doesn't know you, but she has calmed down and gotten used to Grandpa Jones and me.

We played down at the playground again this afternoon. We made four castles and joined all of them by windy roads ~ there were two "good" castles and two "bad" castles. One had a moat surrounding it and the kids used little stones as pretend alligators inside the moat. We played all kinds of pretend stories, Bricyn joined us for quite awhile, and we just had a nice time being outside together.
We also played with playdough for quite a long time this afternoon, until it was dinnertime. I took a ton of pictures, but I'll have to post some of those when I return to Grand Rapids.
After supper we took a long walk around the neighborhood, and then we got out the sidewalk chalk set Diana had bought for the kids. We used some of the drawing books I brought with me to make cool fish and shark and whales and even an octopus on their front sidewalk. All of the kids took their turns making chalk drawings and we pleased with what we'd made.
We have plans to visit the zoo tomorrow afternoon. I'm looking forward to that very much. Hopefully, I'll feel in better shape by then. It takes an incredible amount of energy to keep up with three active children, and so far, we have done very well. God has given strength to us and much gladness!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day #16: Fun and games ... all day long!

Today it was COLD at Ft. Bliss ... a definite INSIDE day. So I unloaded my big white art bag that was stuffed full of good things like coloring books, stencils, color by number books, drawing books, markers, colored pencils, crayons of every type and size, stickers ... and we all had such FUN!
I'm always a little bit amazed at little rough 'n tumble, wiggly boys who can immediately settle down if given something interesting and creative to do ... Matthew and Christopher never stopped drawing, coloring, exploring books, and doing art work for more than two solid hours. They were exceedingly happy children! Emma Joy is an art expert (practically) and is totally in her element when given any creative opportunity.
I brought a bunch of my finger puppets along from Michigan for some added entertainment. Emma really likes getting 10 of them all going at once on her fingers ...

Last week when we were in Austin at Sabrina's, we had visited a teacher's store and I picked up some plain white book marks that came 35 to a pack for about $1.99. So the children and I decorated book marks today. We're going to do more tomorrow. Emma got hers finished for me to use, and I got mine finished for her ... but we're going to make a whole bunch of other ones in the next few days. I'm using Emma's tonight to mark my place in the book I am reading here at the hotel.
We also played some games like Memory (matching cards), Connect-4, and checkers. Emma and I played regular checkers, giveaway, as well as the Fox and Geese game. And then Emma wondered if Grandpa Jones and I would play a regular game of checkers. I told her Grandpa always, always, always WINS when he plays checkers with me. Emma wanted a picture of his look of victory after he completely wiped me out! The boys and I played several games of Memory (they have really good memories) and Connect-4 too.
And even though it was cold today (in the low 50's with a very brisk wind), the kiddos wanted to show me the bubble wands that Diana had gotten for them. So we went outside and the kiddos let the wind blow their bubbles around ...
... and they did a little tree climbing as well ...

We shared some simple meals together today, popped popcorn, ate icecream and just hung out together. We also read some really good books together. All and all, a very nice day!
There is a new lion exhibit at the El Paso zoo that has opened up this week. We think we will visit it Wednesday afternoon. It's supposed to be warm and sunny by Wednesday, so that's why we've picked that day for the zoo. I'm not sure what we've got planned for tomorrow, but I'll try to show you whatever we do!