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Summer Adventures

Over the summer of 2017 our family had the awesome opportunity to go on a outreach trip to England. We went for 2 weeks. Right before our family trip Austin had the opportunity to go for two weeks before us with his youth group. Spending an entire month in the England area. You can read about his adventures here.

It was a dream to all go as a family. The dream began to grow more and more in February of 2017 with the kids dance studio offered the trip up to people who were interested. Knowing the cost would be around $8,000.00 and the time would go fast we knew that if God wanted us there He would make a way. And that He did!

Here are many of the pictures from our trip. The purpose of our trip was to go to two different locations in England and teach dance, perform dance, and reach out to the people around us. You won’t see many dance pictures from the different camps we did to protect the identities of the children that participated. Many of the Children were in foster homes.

Our flights went really well. We had a short flight to the east coast where we had some down time to grab food, practice some of the dances, run off some energy, and have our group time of devotions and highs and lows for our days. I will say this a lot but one of my favorite parts of the trip. A great time to see how others were doing and getting to pray over each other.

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Our first stop was in London. We were able to spend a short time in this very busy city. Grabbing our first taste of fish and chips from a neat pub and checking out some of the sites.

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We road a bus to YWAM Harpenden, where we would have the opportunity to stay for our first part of our trip.

Here we let the four kids that had been in England for two weeks already catch up on some much needed rest. We began teaching some dance camps, we were able to help with food prep for each of our meals, and some of the guys in our group had the opportunity to do some work around the facilities that was needed.

Each day two to three people would help prep for each meal, and then two or three people would clean up from each meal. It was a time to help and meet whoever else was in the kitchen with you! The food was served with love by the full time chef there. It was a great way to serve YWAM, the people there and our group.

Harpenden was a sweet area. Beautiful landscape. YWAM there is located on what use to be a orphanage. There was a lot of history to the area, a beautiful apple orchard, and some great areas you could walk in and see more of the area.

So much of England had beautiful flowers and gardens. The amazing brick work, beautiful doors – many were beautiful vibrant colors. Wonderful architecture of bridges and walk ways. None of the windows had screens. You could just open the windows and enjoy the pleasant air as it came in.

One of my favorite things about Harpenden was getting to talk with them many people that are currently living there. We were able to speak with people from all over the world. Learn about what they are doing there, what their hopes and dreams for the future were and how we could pray for them right there.

There was an amazing and super cute coffee shop at Harpenden. Here you could hang out with good company, and enjoy some delicious drinks! One of my favorite conversations happened here. It was with an older English lady who loved Jesus so much. She was a huge encouragement and so full of life and joy!

Another great thing that happened in Harpenden is after the dance classes were complete many times the kids had some down time. Sometimes you could find them all playing a game tougher and most times you could find them out with some of the young kids that lived there, jumping on trampolines together, playing with them or taking some time to adventure around the apple orchard and rest of the campus.

Most of our days in Harpenden had rain at some point in the day, but we were blessed with some sunshine too!

After Harpenden we began our long ride to the Cornwall area. Getting to experience and see the England countryside was amazing and such a blessing in our trip.

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Our trip through the beautiful country sides of England was uneventful and adventurous all at the same time. We made it into our stop late in the evening. We had a bit of trouble finding dinner that night but our amazing leader Eric made it happen and provided for the group that night.

Our accommodations for the rest of our time at the festival  were these adorable tents! They were really very nice. Plus I can  cross sleeping in a circus tent off my bucket list.

Something that I am so thankful for about this trip. Is our leaders Eric and Melissa gave everyone the opportunity to go on “outings”. We all got to go several times! These outings generally happened in the morning before dance camps began or in the evenings after dinner time. These outings gave us the opportunity to see some really cool places around where we were. We were able to learn more about the area and really appreciate the history and beauty of where we were. I am so thankful for these times. They were an extra special element to our trip.

A couple of our outings were to some of the local beaches. The drive to these beaches were always memorable for many reasons. The country roads in England are very narrow. Generally the mini van we were riding in would gently touch the sides of the walls of the roads we were on. You would meet oncoming traffic and one of you would have to back up to an small opening in the road were would each careful then go around the other.

One time on one of our adventures a driver many cars in front of us couldn’t figure out how to navigate around the oncoming cars. A wonderful local man many cars back coming towards us go out of his car, and began directing each car to pull out, pull in this area and start letting the other cars go. It took a bit and I am sure the locals watching got a kick out of it but after a while he had everyone free and moving again. Another fun time about these car rides is getting to hear the conversations of the kids. Talking about their days, their classes they had taught, the people they had met, things they were missing about home and so on. We also had many signing adventures. There was a lot of laughter, stories and more.

Here are some pictures of some of the beaches we went to. One was called XXXXXX and the other one was XXXXX.

During our beach excursions we had the opportunity to swim (brr) or explore the areas. The beaches we went to were beautiful. Some of them looked like pictures out of magazines!

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Exploring Castles – We went to Tintagel Castle, set high on Cornwall’s rugged north coast.  Linked with the legend of King Arthur.

If I ever get the opportunity to go back to England I would love to visit more castles. The uniqueness of them, the history, the beauty!

Apparently Kylie was testing her fear of heights here? 

We walked many steps these days. But each one was worth it. Seeing the top, hiking the hill sides, watching the waves hit the rocks, exploring the caves, walking all the stairs up or down. It was beautiful and breath taking!

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One of our evening excursions after dinner was a sunset hike. It came with a view of a gorgeous lighthouse, very strong winds but the memory of the sunset over the ocean with nothing taking your view away was fantastic!

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During our time at Creation Fest we had the opportunity in the evenings to see performances of different artists. Some more known then others. We had the opportunity to listen to some of the speakers that were there. Lastly, we had lost of opportunity to perform our dances that we had prepared for this trip!

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As we began our journey back to London we got to go to one last super cool place.

St Michael’s Mount is a small tidal island in Mount’s Bay, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The island is a civil parish and is linked to the town of Marazion by a man-made causeway of granite setts, passable between mid-tide and low water.

We were able to enjoy a Sunday morning service here, explore the island, ride a boat out to it and walk the causeway back as the tide had lowered.


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A few pictures the end our journey.

Niko got into our bags when we had left to go get groceries after getting home, and ate every bar of chocolate we had bought to bring home to friends and family. His tummy wasn’t overly happy with his choices and we weren’t either.

The second picture is a cute little bowl of sugar at one of the coffee shops we stopped at. I loved the cubes. Felt so proper.

The third picture is a memory of our days at Creation Fest. Plastic forks.

The fourth picture was of some goodies we brought back. Some delicious biscuits!

The fifth picture was of Ryan and I on our last flight home. Tired, happy, thankful.

The last picture is of us flying over Greenland. It was a treat to be able to see Greenland. The stewards on the flight said it was a unique experience because normally it is too cloudy to see.




We hope you enjoyed out short tour of our time in England! We have many more pictures so if you would ever like to see them all let us know. We are so thankful and blessed by each one of you that gave to our trip financially, purchased items we were selling, prayed for us, encouraged us. Thank you. This was a dream come true for our family to be able to serve others together. We are thankful and hope there are more of these opportunities for us in our future.

Many blessings to you all!

 

To see the video of us performing our dance in England at the many different places we went go here.

A Summary of the England Mission Trip – 2017 Austins Journey

 

Chapter One – Austin’s Journey

 

We arrived at Faith Church a few minutes before the scheduled departure time. There was and excited yet nervous anticipation in the air. Many people including parents, family members, and elders of the church were present, ready to send us off on our grand adventure. The bags had already been packed the previous night, so we were all set to go. 

We started off with the usual pre-mission trip prayer circle, and had a great time of prayer and preparation. Then, we were off. The van ride was surprisingly uneventful and smooth. We arrived at DIA (Denver International Airport) and unloaded our bags, where we said goodbye to the drivers and headed inside.  

We then had to receive our boarding passes and dropped off our checked bags. Josiah, Emmy, and I had to go separately from our group, due to the fact that we were staying longer and therefore had purchased tickets separately. We received our boarding passes and dropped our bags off smoothly thanks to a very helpful airport employee and waited for the rest of our group. They all got through smoothly, except for one young lady (Emily) who had a misspelling of her name on her boarding pass. Thankfully, it was sorted out. 

We then gathered into our travel groups in order to go through security. My travel group was headed by Stetson and included Alex, Josiah, Nate, and Brian. We went through security and although basically everyone had to go through some extra security measures (including Josiah, who had to have his sausage tested), no one had any major problems. We were then released to eat if we desired to, and it was time to wait. 

Time flew extremely quickly, and we boarded the plan on route to Detroit. The plane ride was pretty uneventful, yet boring. I do remember seeing one of the Great Lakes outside the window and that was decently exciting. 

We then landed in Detroit and waited for the next flight. Detroit was very enjoyable, and I remember doing such things as eating Subway, watching a piano play itself, riding the train they had, and playing Mafia. In case you didn’t know, Mafia is one of my favorite games, and if you’ve never played it, see me and we’ll try and give you the opportunity to play the game.  

We boarded the next plane which was not a very enjoyable ride. I made the mistake of trying to sleep through 80% of the 7 hour ride and getting just 20 minutes of sleep. It wasn’t fun. When we finally landed, we were very excited and happy, and we then headed to customs, the final step before finally being able to leave the airport atmosphere. 

Customs was uneventful. I didn’t say a word. Our group leader, Dr. William “Bill” Ackerman did all the talking and I simply agreed with what he said. I am super thankful that the process went so smoothly without any hiccups. We then exited customs and arrived in the arrival’s area, where we had to wait for 5 members of our group who were coming in from different flights. The time passed quickly though, and we prepared to board the bus to the place we were staying. 

The bus ride went smoothly. I definitely noticed the cars driving on the wrong side of the road. We arrived at “The HUB”, the place we were staying, which is situated in High Wycombe. We were greeted by the local youth who went to Union Baptist Church (part of The HUB) and proceeded to get situated at our new “home”. 

 

 

Chapter Two – Faith Trip (Austin) 

The next day, we proceeded to go on our tour of London. We got to see a lot of amazing things, such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Tower’s Bridge, London Bridge, the Guard’s Palace, and much more. It was an awesome experience, and we had several of the local youth come with us to act as our guides. We got to eat lunch in Trafalgar Square, which was pretty enjoyable as well. 

The next day, we began preparations for “Lighthouse” which is the giant VBS that occurs every year and serves thousands of kids. They have several sites and we helped set up the Hazlemere site on Friday. It was a lot of work, but it was still great. Afterwards, because they needed people to stay there 24/7 as “insurance”, a couple of friends and me stayed behind until 9 and had some fun. We got to try fish and chips that night and I must say, I’m not impressed. 

On Saturday, we set up the other of the two largest sites, Highcrest. This one did not allow for us to do a lot of work, and we went home pretty early. That night, we had a barbecue with the local youth and hung out at the local park. (By the way, England’s parks are way better than American parks)  

On Sunday, we went to church in the morning and had lunch afterwards. We had a Lighthouse leader’s meeting in the evening, and some of us didn’t get back until pretty late due to our shuttle having to take us in 3-4 different groups. I was a part of the last group of 5 people, and when we arrived, there was a wedding going on at the church, so we couldn’t go up to the rooms we were staying in. That was so much fun… 

The next day, Monday, arrived and some of us were given the opportunity to have breakfast and take showers with a host family for the rest of the week! I was one of those selected along with three other guys, Micah, Alex, and Josiah. Our host family was very kind and provided us with plenty of food every day to sustain us. Then, we headed to the Lighthouse location (Me and my group were at Hazlemere, the largest site) for a brief leaders’ meeting. Then, the fun began. 

I was an assistant leader in the 10’s. My group was very calm and collected, which I am thankful for. It was awesome to be able to establish connections with those kids and pour into their lives. I have been praying for them pretty often as well. The Lighthouse week passed by neither quickly nor slowly, and soon, it was over. 

During the week, we had plenty of events going on in the evenings. The main event that I wanted to tell you about is something called Fresh Café. Basically, it’s a two-day youth group for the youth Lighthouse volunteers. The Holy Spirit definitely moved during those two nights, and I established some great connections with some of the people there, and am still in contact with them. 

After Lighthouse was over, we had to help with the tear down process. It took a little while, but we eventually got it all done. It was an amazing opportunity to bless the leaders of Lighthouse. 

That Saturday, we went on a tour of Oxford. It was absolutely stunning, and we had some amazing adventures that day. On Sunday, we went to several small churches throughout the city and provided encouragement for them. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday we had several events occurring throughout the day and evening, which allowed for some great opportunities to pour into peoples’ lives. We also watched Sherlock one evening, which was definitely interesting. 

We left The HUB with rather tearful goodbyes as many good relationships had been established with the youth there. We then boarded the bus and headed to the airport where we had even more tearful goodbyes. It was hard to imagine that this group we had gotten so close to and shared so many moments with would be leaving, and that we would soon be joined by another group. We then settled down to wait for the dance group we were meeting up with. I remember going on a food hunt with Emmy and getting some decent snacks. I then began communicating with one of our team members arriving from Paris in order to coordinate where we would meet her. Then, the wait began… 

 

Chapter Three – Prayer Requests (Austin) 

I have a couple of prayer requests: 

For Pete, and all the people at Union Baptist Church who blesses us by letting us stay there and helping us figure things out. Please pray for boldness and protection for them; that they would be able to shine the light of Jesus in an increasingly dark and hostile world. 

For the leaders of Lighthouse; that God would grant them peace and sound minds as they continue to organize Lighthouse every year. Also, please pray that they would continue to pour into the lives of so many children and bless them immensely. 

For specific people we met there (On both trips). Please pray that they would be blessed and that Jesus’ love would pour out onto them. Also, some of them do not know Jesus. Please pray that their eyes would be open and that they would no longer be able to deny the existence of Jesus. Specific names are: Caroll, Shasha, Pete, Kallum, Ben, Joel, Henry, Natalie, John, Mateus, Kate, Deborah, Mark, Haydn, Freddie, Sam, Justine, Matilda, Matthew, Freya, Sophie, Amy, Cianna, and Jared. 

A large portion of the kids/teens I might do not know Jesus. Please pray for them. 

Pray that Creation Fest would continue to have a massive impact on the surrounding community! 

That’s about it! 

 

 

Chapter Four – A Few of My Favorite Things About This Trip (Austin)

We played several enjoyable games as a group such as Mao, Mafia, etc. 

I met some awesome people and established some lasting relationships with them. 

The WYAM base owned a stretch of woods, a cemetery, an old factory, and much more!!! It was so cool to explore! 

I had several awesome God-moments. It was so amazing to be able to talk to Him and learn more about Him and his purpose for my life!!! 

Several of my relationships grew SO much on this trip! (Especially on the first trip) 

I got to see greats such as LZ7, Wildwood Kin, and CYBADRUMMER perform on the Lighthouse Dance Trip! 

I also got to see legends such as Oliver Pengilley and Kay Arthur!!! 

I got to teach some dance classes! It was amazing to be able to teach again after a year of not doing it. 

I learned how to skateboard (sort of) from a new friend I met in England! 

We went on several awesome excursions! Some of the places we went to include: London, Oxford, St. Michael’s Mount, Some Old Churches, Castle Tintagel, Several Beaches, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The London Eye, London Bridge, Towers Bridge, The Tower of London, The Guard’s Palace, and much, much more!!! 

That’s about it from my part of the story.

Gratitude and Thankfulness

Although it has been way too long since anyone has updated here, our hearts our full. Our lives are full. We are so very blessed.
We have had good days and bad, but mostly good. The kids are growing like beautiful weeds but more like flowers. They are both strong, and smart. They have passion for their favorites and its so fun to watch.
We are thankful for each day we are given with them and as a family. They teach us so much. Now that they both are teenagers they have moments of emotions, laughters, and something in-between almost hourly.
They both love to read. They both love to write. Although Austin loves to write books, games, and essays and Kylie likes to write music. We are so thankful for their beautiful differences. They both are strong and athletic. They both have worked hard to accomplish some pretty big dreams at just 13 and 15.
They boy dance with their hearts full of Jesus. We are incredibly grateful and thankful for them both.

Happy Fall!

Happy Journal

Giving thanks in all circumstances.

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Thankful for this lady. Got to celebrate her birthday with her.

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Thankful for time with family getting to go sledding or at least watching them! The kids were in there somewhere.

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Thank for time with family visiting fun places. 26 25

Thankful for time getting to be creative with these two!22 20

Thankful for being able to see my husband play with our nephews.

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Thankful for this guys love, and support.

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Thankful to get to see the kids both earn their brown belts and Ryan earn his purple. So proud of them all. 3 2 1 31 30

Happy Journal

Giving thanks in all circumstances.

psalm 107 1

Thankful for this amazing young man who keeps us laughing.

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Thankful for this young lady who is so full of joy.

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Thankful for a camera I get to play with and take pictures with.

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Thankful for visiting places that bring back sweet memories.

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Thankful for God’s glory.

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Thankful for a husband that makes my dreams become a reality. 9

Happy Journal

Giving thanks in all circumstances.

psalm 107 1

Thankful for simplicity and color.

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Thankful for a beautiful new family picture wall! 
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Thankful for the fun adventures I get to do with this guy.

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Thankful for the crazy fog that brought in beautiful ice on all the trees.

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Thankful for the glorious mountains with snow blowing on them.

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Thankful for the chance to be creative.

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Thankful for this man. 13




Happy Journal

Giving thanks in all circumstances.

psalm 107 1

Thankful for the beautiful sunsets we get to see over the mountains.

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Thankful for clean laundry. Folded.

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New Year… New Dreams… New Hopes

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. I (Laura) am still not sure what happened to 2015 but 2016 is here and ready to rock.

Last year was a year of many changes, and challenges for me personally. As 2015 ended I hoped and prayed for some answers, and new directions. Thankfully  I was blessed with some answers to some medical issues I had been having for years. With that blessing though I had and still have many wonders still, confusion, and unknowns. I have really let many things in life get the best of me this past year(s) and even in my young age it has really started to catch up with me. Thankfully I have one amazing husband who has tried to give me everything he knew to help, and two kids that have been full of patience and grace. In taking many hours and days to reflect, pray and ask God for help, grace, and direction I really felt these two words spoken to me.

The first one is:

believe

I have felt like God has been asking me do you believe I will take care of you? Do you believe you can do it? These two questions are hard for me. I haven’t felt like I could do much for a long time. I have felt the discouragement of life, and trials get the best of me.

This has been going over and over in my mind. The next word He gave me right before the new year was:

new

Again I felt like God was asking me do you BELIEVE I can make things NEW? Do you BELIEVE in NEW beginnings?

Then yesterday He gave me two beautiful verses that go with these words.

The first is:

“All things are possible to him who believes“. Mark 9:23

and the second one is:

“Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

What a gift these two words are to me with these two verses that go along. I am thankful to see some light in the darkness that I have faced. I am looking forward to the new things that God has in-store for myself and my family. I believe that so much is possible with God by my side.

I know that each day I still have to stay very focused on what God gives me to conquer what I have to face, and I know that somedays, moments will still not be easy but I am so very thankful for an amazing God who forgives, and loves. I am thankful for an amazing husband who stays by me and encourages me when needed , and catches me each day I fall. I am thankful for two fabulous children who show me so much, who love unconditionally, and who give grace and forgiveness, and laughter.

I hope this new year brings you many new and wonderful things.

Till next time…

~Laura

Merry Christmas

Hello Friends and Family,

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and of course a Happy New Year TOO!

This year we decided not to send out a big Christmas letter but instead write a little something on here.

This year has brought us many different changes, challenges and joys.

The kids finished up 5th and 7th grade in the spring, and started 6th and 8th grade this past fall.

Both Austin and Kylie are still doing Kempo – Karate. They take classes a couple of times a week, Austin helps teach twice a week and they attend stick and sparring classes. They are currently both advanced red chevrons. So in a little over a year they should both be junior black belts. Its  been lot of work for both of them and mom and dad to make sure
they are at all the classes that they need, but they both really enjoy it. The confidence they have both gained, and the knowledge of the art has been wonderful. The school owners and instructors are pretty awesome also!

Austin this past summer auditioned for a hip hop dance company at the Rez dance here in Loveland. He got in and has had the opportunity to dance at Children’s Hospital this past fall and then at their Christmas performance also. He sure does LOVE hip hop. Austin still loves to read like crazy. He retains an amazing amount which may make him a good Jeopardy candidate someday. He is doing very well with school this year. It is hard to believe we will have a high schooler next year! Austin also is involved with his youth group here in town and loves it. It is a great group of people.

Kylie is dancing at a different church this year. It is much smaller then before but it has been a good temporary fit for her. The teachers are wonderful, she is learning ballet and enjoying it. She is growing up like crazy. Did I mention both kids are towering over me (Laura) already. Crazy how much they are growing. Kylie loves to create, draw, paint, play the piano, sing. Anything creative! Kylie is also involved in her youth group. She gets to do some really fun things and really enjoys it.

This past November Ryan left the SO after being there for over ten years. We started our own business this past May and decided to have him come work at it full-time. It has been a huge switch and transition. Overall it has been positive. Our hearts will always have our brothers and sisters in blue in them. We are really excited to see what 2016 brings for us as individuals and as a family.

We hope you are all well!

Many Blessings,

Ryan, Laura, Austin and Kylie

Family Adventure

To kick off our new family adventures we decided to take a trip to see Ryan’s parents in the sw part of the state for Thanksgiving.

We had amazing weather driving there and driving home. For some reason we didn’t take many pictures this trip but I thought I would share with you a few that we did.

The dogs coped with the long drive although both of them didn’t seem to really “enjoy ” it.

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Ryan drove the entire way down… I entertained him with selfies, and random thoughts. ;o)

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The kids did awesome. They are really awesome travelers. 103 104

We spent a few days there. One exciting adventure that we really wanted to do was take the kids snowmobiling. So the day after Thanksgiving Ryan, his dad and the kids went out for a few hours.

The views I hear were pretty rough…..

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We got to see a night of a magnificent sunset. God sure does know how to paint something pretty amazing for us to see.

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David was down also during that time. The kids always love to see what he is up to and hang around him.

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We were so very thankful that we go the opportunity to get away and see family and some beautiful views.

Till next time!

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