Summertime

Since I neglected to put up a single post this entire summer (until today – 3 Alaska posts plus this one might be a new record, ha!) I thought I would show a glimpse into what we have been up to.

While we were spending 2 weeks in Alaska, the best Mimi (and Gramps, but we all know Mimi did 99% of the work!) ever watched our precious kiddos.  She made memories, loved on our kiddos, was patient, did special things with them, and made our time away a joy for us.  It took about a month for them to stop calling me “Mimi” but I am ok with that!  We are so incredibly blessed to have parents who will watch our kiddos for such long periods of time so that we can get away.  We know not everyone has this blessing and don’t take it for granted. We are blessed and so are our kiddos! 
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Tea party at Mimi’s housetea party

Gramps and Mimi braved the rain for the local parade with the kiddos on July 4th!
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And took them to see fireworks!
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Emma picked some flowers for us while we were away (and informed us that she is getting married)!
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Before we left for Alaska, Justin’s baseball team won the championship!
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After we got back from Alaska, me and the kiddos dressed like cows for free Chick-fil-A food.
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On hot days we swim at our next door neighbor’s house.
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While the big kiddos were away at the grandparents Emma was my buddy … and she also beat me at “I Spy.”
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I missed my big kid helpers, but at least Emma is cute!  We have been busy freezing zukes, making pickles from cukes, freezing green peppers, making BLT’s with garden fresh tomatoes, and eating lots of fresh food from the garden!
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I was happy to have my big kids back home!
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Emma and Callie love to climb this little tree.
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Sydney takes a morning walk or bike ride across the street every morning to visit her horse friends, Cody and Angie. Our kind neighbor lets them pet the horses, help clean them, brush them, give them treats, ride them, and spend as much time as they want climbing on the fence to visit them!
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Brian’s brother, Derek, and his fiance, Joy, came for a visit to play some doubles tennis and to ask Callie and Emma to be their flower girls.  We had a blast and the little girlies are absolutely thrilled (and eagerly anticipating March)!
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Emma got bike lessons from Daddy … kiddos #5 on a 2 wheeler.
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Emma turned 4!
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She got new pig pj’s from Mimi … a big deal when you are girlie #4 and new pj’s are rare!
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And last but not least, we started school!
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Although we don’t start Classical Conversations until the Monday after Labor Day, we are gradually getting back into a routine around here.  Because of that, don’t be too surprised if another couple of months goes by without a post!  I need to learn the art of short and sweet posts.  I am hoping to get up a school post showing our schoolroom, some favorite supplies, and what we are using this year for school.  However, that post will not be short and sweet so who knows when and if it will happen!

Alaska – Part 3

This last post will have pics from the week that we were on land in Big Lake, Alaska.  We relaxed, kayaked, went hiking, enjoyed some scenic drives, rented 4 wheelers, and relaxed some more!  I didn’t take as many pictures that week, and sometimes only one of us took a camera along on a hike so I don’t have those pictures yet. 

Our view from the deck was lovely!
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Dinner together
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Another hike with amazing views.
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Hatcher’s Pass Scenic Drive
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Denali drive to see Mt. McKinley
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We got some nice views before the clouds moved in (we were told that only about 15% of people get to see McKinley because of how often it develops storm systems with clouds that cover it from view).
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Almost completely covered
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By the time we got to the last lookout, McKinley was hiding.
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We rented 4 wheelers for a day and had a guide take us through the mountains. A highlight for sure!
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My hot driver (until it was time for the girls to drive!)
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Some of the trails we were on.
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We drove through a bit of mud.
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Compared to the river we crossed, these areas were nothing!
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Brian and I won the award for who got the most wet!
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When we were almost finished with our riding (and safe from any wildlife), our guide taught us girls how to shoot his gun.
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We saw this rainbow on the way back to our house … a beautiful way to end the day.
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Alaska – Part 2

Next up is Skagway, and then our scenic tours into Glacier Bay and College Fjords (with a few other random pics from on the cruise ship thrown in)!

Skagway was such a quaint little town.

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Waiting for the others to finish shopping.
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Me and my love.
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My hot breakfast date.
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Glacier Bay National Park
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Warming up with coffee before heading back out
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Dad and Mom Herr
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Krista, me, and Kendra (my 2 sis in laws … excited to add another sis in law to the family in March ‘15!)
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We had amazing views.
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My hot lunch date.
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College Fjords
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Beautiful views every way you turned.
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Crazy thing is that it was almost 8 p.m. in these pics.
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Almost 11 p.m. and still light out!
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Formal night group shot
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Alaska – Part 1

This post is long overdue, but that is just the way it goes!  Being away for 2 weeks made our summer fly by even faster than it usually does, so there wasn’t much time for blogging. 
We had the amazing privilege of visiting Alaska for 2 weeks back in June/July with the adults in Brian’s family.  His parents are incredibly generous and are the ones who made this trip happen.  We spent a week on a cruise (with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, as well as scenic tours to Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjords) and then a week on land in a beautiful cabin on Big Lake.  Just a warning, this post (and the ones to follow) will be a little long because narrowing down 700+ pics to a few blog posts is tough.  Alaska is a gorgeous state!

Pulling out in Vancouver (As a side note, we barely made our connecting flight in Toronto because a passenger, who is afraid to fly, had a panic attack right before we took off. The airline had to remove her from the plane and then also remove her luggage before we could takeoff. As another side note, only Dad Herr would crack a joke to some folks in Toronto about staging a panic attack to delay the plane from taking off until we all made it there and then have them respond “actually, that women in Philly is a part of our group!” Thankfully they had a sense of humor and laughed.)
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Ketchikan
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Juneau
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Walking to find our hiking trail
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Brothers
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Hiking with a view like this is glorious.
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Our trail was buried in snow! We pressed on (after a vote, ha).
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This one was for our kids.
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At the end of our 7.5 mile hike we had a gorgeous view.

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We moved a little faster on the 7.5 miles back out (partially because certain members of our hike were a little unprepared to hike 15 miles with absolutely zero food in their backpacks!)
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At port in Juneau
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To the Best Mom Ever

I am one blessed girl because God ordained this woman to be my mom. I don't know anyone who has more patience or serves as selflessly as her. My kiddos adore her and I am constantly blessed by the countless ways that she serves our family. Mom, thanks for making sure that we get date nights, loving our children, driving hours every month to sacrifice your time for us, making memories with our precious children, and encouraging me as a wife and mother. I love you!!!

 

I am also incredibly blessed because God has given me the joy of being a mom to the 5 best kiddos ever!