Vacation Bible School...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I am behind (gasp, I know - a whole month ;)

The last week of June, we had vacation bible school...actually it was called Summer FX (FX standing for family experience).  Our church is implementing a new philosophy called "orange" which bascially blends family (red) and church (yellow) to make orange.  It's a great philosophy that aims to better disciple the children of the church so that when they grow up they are still on fire for Christ.  That being said, we tested out our new Sunday model during VBS.  The kiddos spent time in worship (which I led) for 15 minutes, transitioned to a craft and then to a bible story & activity before finishing with snack and play time for a total of 60 minutes.  Woah and 60 minutes with this age group WORE ME OUT (and I taught 1st grade).  3 and 4 year olds are BUSY in mass numbers...

I loved leading worship with them.  We sang the same 3 songs each night and had little actions to go with the words and they just bounced all over the place.  I was sweating and we all got a good workout praising our Savior!

I just snapped a few photos of Solon with his friends - it is fun to see him in this environment.  He is quieter and more attentive then I would have guessed...think he will do really well at preschool!


Sitting next to his best bud - sorry for the blurry phone photo but loved their very engaged looks :)

He is asking some tough questions and some we can't answer on this Earth but He is earnestly trying to understand how to fit Jesus into His heart and we are praying when He is ready He will ask His savior to come into His heart!  I am sure on that day I will cry **wink!

Marriage Retreat...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
What's that, I hear whispering "Scott and Erin's marriage is in trouble, they are going to a marriage retreat" and another whisper "what is a marriage retreat?"....

Well let me be clear before going I had thought the same 2 thoughts...why has God made it available for us to go and what is a "marriage retreat" anyway.  Well here's an analogy for you, just like acupuncture is preventative healthcare so is a marriage retreat.  Rather than waiting for your marriage to fall apart to fix it, why not work on it while it is still good.  And further more even though it ain't broken, what if with a little WD-40 it could work better?  Well that is just what the marriage retreat provided Scott and I, a time to refine some things in our marriage we didn't know could be better and a time to talk about US without the disruption of the daily grind and caring for 2 little rugrats.   Scott and I have always tried to find a weekend to get away EVERY year just the 2 of us.  Once we had kids, it was harder to leave them alone but biblical marriage comes 2nd only to our relationship with Christ.  Someday our kids will be grown and on their own (Lord willing) and it will just be Scott and I.

So we sent the kids to nana and papa camp (which they LOVED), they milked a cow at a dairy farm, had a cookie for morning snack followed by ice cream for lunch and other fun!  We headed off to just south of Webster City to a beautiful spot in the middle.of.nowhere (and I mean middle of nowhere = no cell service).  So there was no cable, no phone and no internet and no children for 24 hours.   There was, however, amazing food and great fellowship, concrete applications and great wisdom shared by a Godly couple from God's word.  We even took a quiz and had to answer for ourselves and our spouse and then where we disagreed on the answer we had to talk through it.  Things ranged from "Is divorce an option" to "does your spouse admit when they are wrong" to "do you feel valued by your spouse"...and many more thought-provoking statements.  

As always I walked away with several nuggets on how to be a more respectful loving wife and am thankful God made it possible to go.  I didn't think our marriage was broken or needed fixing but I would say a little polishing makes things feel all sparkly and new and the same for our relationship.  I am thankful to have had the opportunity to nourish the relationship God ordained for a lifetime!

And in between sessions, we had an opportunity to get out and enjoy the surroundings...




Oh and did I mention at a marriage retreat there were twin beds in the room....a source of laughter from all parties all weekend :)!


A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
Proverbs 31:10

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'  'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
Mark 10:6-9

A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
Proverbs 12:4

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13


Dells Evening Fun...

Monday, July 29, 2013
While visiting the Dells we spent all of our days lounging playing hard by the pool and then in the evening we picked a couple of things from word of mouth and trip advisor to do.  If you don't use trip advisor when you travel, you should.  They always have some hidden gems on there and again they didn't steer us wrong.

First stop was Buffalo Phil's Saloon (the same owner as Moose Jaw Pizza which we went to as well).

Buffalo Phil's was on our list because you can make a reservation and request a train table.  What is a train table you ask? A table next to a small train track that brings your food and drinks to you!  PERFECT for our choo-choo loving children!

Not only is Buffalo Phil's amazing becuase of the train delivery, it is also connected to a LARGE arcade and indoor rides park.  We got 2 free rides just for eating at Buffalo Phil's and then we bought a few additional points for the ride below - a fan favorite.  Mommy/Daddy had to ride with Solon because he was too short to ride alone...twist our arms, right?! 

We took one ride before dinner and the guy was so nice and gave us an extra few bounces...

Then off to dinner...and watch the trains go by!
The train came by our table for all the tables food in our area so we saw it bunches....and then when the train wasn't busy dropping food and drinks, it would travel by carrying little toys and silly things including a working bubble machine!  It was one of the funnest places we have taken our kids to eat!
Sorry for the poor quality pictures - but just like at Moose Jaw they give you hats but this time conductor hats instead of moose antlers!

We grabbed the coupon and off we went to ride the airplanes and train for free!


And of course we had to this ride again - daddy's turn!


Then it was time for some games...we all had fun racking up the points and then Grace, Lance and Solon split the winnings evenly and picked out their little prizes.  Solon picked 5 tootsie rolls and 2 whoopie cushions - anyone surprised.  Good thing to as the 1st whoopie cushion didn't make it to the end of vacation!
We are horrible about getting group photos (well who wants to take a group photo in a swimsuit looking like a drowned rat, not I!) but this was my sisters-in-law and me at Buffalo Phils!

Okay another night we went to the #1 restaurant according to Trip Advisor - I knew it would require some fun loving souls as it was called Rail Dog....ha!  A restaurant served out of a caboose all made by the polish owner, a very sweet guy who then gave us a full tour of his caboose hotel room.  He especially loved Josh and so Josh was in charge of our 12 person order....he only took cash but let us eat first and then run to the gas station to get money and pay after!


You could go in the caboose and make their signal ding...



Their specialty was the dells taco which was sold out and then their polish taco (which consisted of a polish sausage with hot peppers, relish and rolled up in a deep fried tortilla).  I will try anything once and it was better than I guessed...the kids had their hot dogs and they loved them!
You can rent this caboose for the night...the owner recently completely restored it and graciously gave us a tour!  Solon was in heaven, we had a train restaurant theme going for sure!

That night we took the kiddos home and had a siblings date...first up mini golfing. The dells has many choices when it comes to mini golf.  The place we chose had 6 courses.




After mini golf, we hit up some dairy queen for dessert before calling it a good night.

The last day it was just us and the Malin's so we took the kiddos out to play mini golf again, they all loved it!



They truly are the bestest of friends - we hit the cousin jackpot.  We wish we could be with them more...
Solon working hard (note his tongue is out because of his deep concentration)
Just watching the  crew...
All the fun holes with all their special features kept the kids busy!

After golfing we picked yet another trip advisor pick...#2 Monk's Bar and Grill.  We had delicious cheese covered fries, burgers and of course while in Wisconsin, you have to have cheese curds - yum!
Bestest buds...
Brother and sister...
I was in tears by this point because we had to say good-bye for a YEAR.  They were off to Minneapolis and after 10 days away from home, we needed to get back.  Note Vera's photo bomb with a frisbee on her head.  We just love the Malin's sooooo much and can't wait until they move home so we can be together more and go on lots of fun vacations together!

What a great fun-filled vacation 2013.  We are blessed!

Wisconsin Dells: The Water Park Fun...

Sunday, July 28, 2013
Monday morning bright and early we headed out on the open road towards Wisconsin Dells, just a 4 hour trip from the lake!  We arrived after lunch and got our suits on and headed for one of the 8 parks they have at the Wilderness Lodge.  The parks are just for hotel guests and since we went from Monday - Friday, it was not crowded at all!  Yes!

We stayed in a town home with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, plenty of space for all 12 of us (except I kept saying 11, kept forgetting poor Vera :)

We mostly made lunch at the condo but we did have one poolside lunch...

We had nearly perfect weather all week (just one morning rain but otherwise perfection!).
Aunt Angee and Vera!

Vera was pretty clingy to mommy by this point in the vacation - lots of faces and new environments and she is at that prefer mommy stage.  95% time I love it, extra snuggles for me but it is hard for family that never sees her to get some time with her!
I mean seriously - SQUISH!
We packed lots of snacks and would have snack time cuddles between playing REALLY hard.  Solon didn't nap all week so bedtime consisted of falling asleep during prayers...
This face....I think she was saying pick me up aka squawking!
There was a bunch of tube rides and Solon especially loved the ones that were light (not pitch dark :)...these turned out clear but they were going faster than they appear in this still photo ;).


Vera even did a few tube rides and she also loved swimming and catching naps on people's laps :)!
She loved Uncle Josh...they were waiting for cousins Grace and Lance to come down the "Hurricane", a family favorite.  They took Nana and Papa on it on their last day!

We also rode across Lake Delton to another part of the resort on the resort shuttle aka pontoon boat...it was awesome to get out on the lake!  The pool on the lake was inifinity style so we sat and soaked and watched the boats pass by.


Another fan favorite was this slide...you have to stand in a coffin like thing to start and then it counts down and you basically shoot straight down...one of those rides where you feel your heart beating out of your chest...
Another picnic poolside lunch and catching up some shade on a beautiful day!
...and my too cute for words niece on a kid-size lounge!

Solon keeps asking to go back which means it was a very successful trip.   Solon's favorite part was the pretty big kid slides he could do all.by.himself.  He has grown quite independent and with Lance there, he wanted to be big and tall so badly!

Thanks Nana and Papa for the great accommodations - it was an amazing trip and wonderful to all be together!  We were there longer this year (Monday-Friday) so we were able to explore more restaurants and shopping this trip!  More Dells adventures coming soon...

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