Puerto Rico :: January 2018

2018 started out with a five of us from our family traveling to Puerto Rico to help with Disaster Relief after Hurricane Maria. We had a great time and made many wonderful memories!
Below, in italics, is the recap that I wrote about our trip on the way home from Puerto Rico.
This past week has been full of so many funny, adventurous, and a few rather scary moments. 
Palm Trees! [insert heart eyes]
The highlight for me was Sunday. I loved the church service, although I could only understand a few words. I could see and feel the genuine love that they all have for each other and seeing that touched my heart. 
That afternoon, we drove to the top (or nearly the top) of the mountain. Seeing more of the devastation was rather heartbreaking, but the people still had smiles on their faces. We saw washed out roads, damaged houses and steep and narrow roads that are not for the faint of heart. We must not have had any faint-hearted people because we all survived. For myself, being on the edge and doing something more adventurous was very refreshing.

A building that got washed away
I was surprised when I found out that we girls were going to be working on the roof with the guys. I’ve hardly ever used a power tool in my life, so obviously, I needed to learn how to operate those things better. That all has changed now, and I’m a little closer to being a pro at it than what I was before this week (Not to sound conceited or anything). Working on the roof provided a lot of laughs and produced quite a few stares from different people. Every day, someone from the home we were working on served us lunch or supper. It was so special to meet the ladies who live there and get to know them a little bit and hear some of their stories. Saying our goodbyes at the last house was a especially sad. We all had tears in our eyes as we said our goodbyes.
 Trying to communicate with people who barely spoke English was no doubt a challenge, but it was a great way for us to learn a few more words of Spanish. 
One thing that I so loved about the week was seeing the love and acceptance that these people have for others, and how they’re always ready to serve. The warmth we felt in Puerto Rico was not only physical, but it also warmed our hearts. I learned a lot from them in this area, and after this, I definitely want my guests to feel as welcome in my house as I felt in their homes! 
I know I’ll miss the place and the people tremendously, but I’ll always cherish the memories we made there. The beautiful island has captured a piece of my heart this week, so Puerto Rico will likely be seeing more of me in the coming months. 
::Posted by Linda::

A Tribute to You, Summer

Summer… driving through Lancaster County roads with windows down, hair blowing, and music turned way up; Children giggling, and happily climbing all over you, making you sore for the days ahead; Long distance road trips where the cramped space and kids all talking at once makes one nearly lose its sanity; Stuck in a mud puddle in the middle of nowhere for hours (because those dirt roads out west…); Baby snuggles and the newness of that precious life that somehow has the ability to make one melt into a puddle; connecting with old friends and making new ones; and all those iced coffee’s and frappes… yes please! So, a tribute to you, summer, because you were amazing!
This summer has been the best yet, I believe. It’s also been the craziest one yet. I’m so grateful for the memories that were made, the relationships that were build and the love for each other that grew so much stronger.
Here’s a peek into our summer…
We headed to Colorado for our family vacation this year, and also to check some things out for future reference. On our way, we made this stop in Kansas to see the Chalk Monuments.
The roads to the top of Pikes Peak were a little curvy 😉
At the top of Pikes Peak!
It was kinda cold. 😉

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Tunnel Drive, Canon City, Colorado.
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Skyline Drive, Colorado
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Colorado scenery… so gorgeous!
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Several of my photogenic siblings…
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back in Pennsylvania…
Lancaster Bible School was a lot of fun. These are two of my beautiful girls…
My co-teachers and me with two of our precious kiddos from Tuesday Church ❤
This darling child joined our family on September 1. Meet Kaylea Grace…
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We love this child so very much, and we already can’t imagine our life without all her sweetness.
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Beach day…
There were also a lot of other fun experiences that we had this summer… way too many to share on here. It was a really good summer, and I’m looking forward to what the rest of 2017 holds for us 🙂

Hope y’all have a lovely October!

Cape May, New Jersey

cape-may-beach-31Last week, two of us families decided to do a last minute trip to New Jersey because of the wonderful almost-70-degree weather we were having on Sunday 🙂 I got so many nice pictures that I decided to do a blog post about it 😉 Having weather like this in February is very unusual so we took advantage of it 😉
We first headed to Cape May Zoo (where there were a lot of people- more than there were animals :P) and spent several hours there.
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And now, our favorite part of the day…
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We then headed to Sunset Beach to watch the sunset 🙂
God definitely has some amazing art skills!
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It was great to go out and enjoy the sunshine and take lots of pictures again 🙂

Hope ya’ll have a wonderful week!
linda thingie

Thousand Islands, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario

This year, for our family vacation, we went to Ontario, Canada to Niagara Falls. On the way up there, we stopped at Alexandria Bay, New York, and took a boat tour of the Thousand Islands on St. Lawrence River. We saw a lot of castles, mansions, and several other unique buildings, including a small general store 🙂

Suzanne and Caleb during the boat tour:

Heart Island (Boldt Castle)
Boldt Yacht House
A cool victorian home 🙂
The smallest Island on Saint Lawrence river 🙂
thousand-islands19Here’s a fun fact: There are exactly 1,864 islands on that river.

That evening, we headed to Ontario, Canada, to the place where we were staying for the weekend.
We stopped at Swiss Chalet and ate a wonderful dinner there. Suzanne and I shared our meal, because… well, as you can see… There was a lot to eat 😉
Naomi and Ruth holding their “Shirley Temple” drink’s… maybe that what you do when you’re a fan of Shirley Temple?

Niagara Falls

On Saturday and Sunday, we were at Niagara Falls in Canada.
Fall is our favorite time of year to go on family trips because we get to see the changing leaves 🙂
This skydiving looked super fun! We’ve both been skydiving before and would love to do it again- I think this would be the perfect place to do it 😉

Maid of the Mist boat tours
Journey Behind the Falls
One of the biggest highlights was the evening when we got to see Niagara at Night.

Ride across the rapids
White Water Board Walk
Back at the cottage that we were staying at. I got to have my own bedroom – so unusual 😉

Several more pictures of the Falls
linda thingie

Kentucky {Creation Museum}

kentucky trip 231After a full day of traveling, we arrived at our destination in KY around ten in the evening. and for a family of 10 traveling in a van, it was a relief to finally get there 🙂
The next day (and the next) we spent at The Creation Museum. It was our first time there, and we had a wonderful time. 🙂 here are a few pictures…
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A walk in the garden…
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smiling for kentucky trip 574the camera while we sit outside and take a rest as Dad and some of the younger children sit in a class. 
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doing the job he loves… sucking fingers 😉
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whatever was going on here, it must’ve been rather funny 😀
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This big boy proudly carried one of the bags of popcorn we bought that were almost as big as him 🙂
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photo credits for the six following pictures go to the people who ran off with my camera 🙂
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I love them!
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camel rides…
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Dad and Ben went on the zipline. here’s Ben going off 🙂
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back in the building with Suze and her friends 🙂
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posing with a dinosaur. 
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one last picture with this terrific dinosaur.
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Hope you guys have a wonderful day! 

{ Posted by Linda}

To Maryland…

The other day, we went down to Maryland to pick up a dog. We saw a lot of gorgeous scenery on the way and stopped at a couple places to enjoy it and take photos. So here are just some of those pictures…IMG_1530One place we stopped was at a rest stop on the top of a mountain and we were able to look down into the valley!! It was a beautiful sight. 🙂
IMG_1533Going up to the top of the look-out…IMG_1561At the top..IMG_1579dad and momIMG_1583Then we took some pictures with the valley background…marylandIMG_1558IMG_1546This picture is a lot of fun but the little brother was not very happy and the big brother was being squashed… 🙂 IMG_1552I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you come back for more soon. I want to do a post about the graduation party I was at last Sunday, and also one with  horse back riding from yesterday!! A lot going on this week for Linda and I. Today and tomorrow we are going camping with some friends and so I might post on that sometime as well…

Have a wonderful rest of your week!!Suzanne