Colorado!

Gorgeous Colorado:

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Even though we had a shorter distance to drive today, it felt like the longest.  We got up a bit later than usual, but otherwise, the first half of our day sped by.  It started with breathtaking views of the mountains and a hour or so stop in Vail.  I LOVE VAIL.  There seemed to be something for everyone: food, views, art, recreation, music, kiddo parks and fountains.  I wish we could’ve stayed all day!  There is not a cell in my body that wants to ski, but I totally want to go back to Vail to stay and explore in the summer.

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There are stunning hanging baskets and boxes just bursting with flowers all over the place!

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Pirate Park for Peter!

 

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IMG_1501That stream was COLD! But Peter kept wanting to put his toes in… IMG_1502 IMG_1503

As the towns became fewer and far between, I started to get a little restless.  So did Patrick, I think.  The scenery was ever-changing and interesting, but I’m a city gal, and I like to know there are people around.  We did stop at Grand Junction at a Chick-fil-a for a late lunch…

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Peter’s first kid’s meal! He’s a kid!

…but then it was a bit desolate-looking again.

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Our attempt at a family picture

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2nd attempt. Peter thinks it is hilarious to put his finger in his nostril.

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It’s hard to believe that we will reach our destination tomorrow.  Not just our destination, but our new home.  Please pray that we will find housing quickly in a place that we feel comfortable and safe in.  And that we can afford!  We are so grateful for the Lord’s protection on our journey and for this opportunity in California.  I imagine that the next several days will be exhausting and a bit stressful, but we are trusting in God’s provision & timing (though we hope it will be soon!).  I will certainly update here when I am able.

Final stop: California!

A Haiku for Nebraska

A Haiku for Nebraska:

Open Nebraska
All land, sky, and fields of corn…
corn and corn and corn

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Well, Nebraska wasn’t the most interesting drive ever.  But we did enjoy our stay in Lincoln.  Especially Peter!  This was his first time in a “big pool,” and he loved it.  These are photos from the phone… sorry about the quality!

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We stopped at Ted’s Montana Grill in Denver (so yummy!) for dinner before a beautiful, hour-long drive to Silverthorne, where we are spending the night.  The mountains are gorgeous!

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We’re looking forward to another scenic drive tomorrow when we head to Utah.  It will be a shorter drive- only six hours- so we are hoping to have some nice long stops along the way.  A dinosaur park, perhaps??

Illinois, Iowa, and more of my Dutch baby

We made it to Lincoln, Nebraska!  We left Holland yesterday morning and were able to attend our old church in Wheaton and spend time with friends from our college days.  My sweet friend Kaitlin and her new husband Patrick let us crash at their apartment after we had dinner together.  Reality started to set in after we pulled out of Wheaton this morning, traveling further West than I have ever been (besides our flight to visit St. Luke’s in May), venturing into unknown territory.  In the spirit of our journey, we are listening to a short book about Lewis and Clark.   We even made my grandparents watch a National Geographic special on the explorers the night before we left.  We’re dorks.

On the way through Iowa, we stopped in Des Moines for burgers and got to visit with another dear friends, Amedee, and her husband Douggie.  It was a short but special visit, and Amedee quickly became one of Peter’s favorite people when she gave him a bite of bacon.  Of course.  We weren’t able to attend their wedding in April, so it was especially sweet that we got to see them as they were traveling to the East coast, and we just happened to be passing in the middle at the same time.

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Peter snacking in front of the Capitol building in Des Moines

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After our horrendous night in Buffalo, the Country Inn & Suites that we are staying at this evening feels like a palace!!  Seriously.  It’s cozy and clean and no bugs were staring at me when I went to the bathroom.  AND!!!!  We received coupons for free drinks at the restaurant next door.  Yes, please.

To conclude this post, here is what you have all been waiting for: more pictures of my Dutch baby in Holland.  Many of them were taken at Windmill Island, where there were beautiful gardens and an awesome playground.  I also must say again that Peter has been so great on this long trip.  Patrick and I have been constantly amazed by his consistent sweet and happy personality.  He makes us laugh, and he’s actually made the car rides seem a lot shorter.  We love our little boy so much!

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first time in a pool!

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watering flowers at Windmill Island in Holland

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just…. amazing.

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Peter loves pickles, just like his Mama

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Tomorrow, we travel across Nebraska and through Denver, Colorado!

Holland!

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The one advantage to Peter teething is that he is super cuddly!

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Well, we survived the sketchy bed and breakfast!  It really was bad, my friends.  In addition to cement walls and bare bulbs, the water pressure was but a trickle and a bug crawled out of the sink while I was brushing my teeth.  Needless to say, we did not stay for the included breakfast, and left before 8.

Peter’s fever broke that morning (Praise God!), and after a long nap in the car, he was his happy, chatty self. Thankfully, he slept through some craaaaazy weather between Cleveland and Toledo.  Patrick could barely see through the rain and loads of people had pulled over, but we thought it best to keep driving slowly to get through it as soon as possible.  At one point, there was hail the size of ping-pong balls!  Scary stuff, but we made it through in one piece.

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It is a joy to see Peter with his great-grandparents!  And he had a lot of fun with my cousin Phil’s daughter, Piper.  He loves her.  He kept giving her hugs and kisses.  Adorable.  When did he learn to do that?  Peter’s brain has just been exploding with knowledge lately.  There has been so much going on with the move, that I am desperately trying to celebrate and take in all these special moments of his growing into toddlerhood.  It’s overwhelming!  He said his first 3-syllable phrase in the car on Wednesday:  Puppy Boo.  It’s a book he has about puppies that (surprise!) say “boo.”  When he says “puppy boo,” he sounds like a raspy alien, if you can picture that.  He also climbed into an armchair all by himself, which brought years to my eyes.  I still have to capture it on camera- he looks so proud of himself sitting up there!

We are thankful for the chance to rest for a few days before the next leg of our trip.  Peter looks at home at the beach, doesn’t he?  I think he’ll enjoy being a California baby.  In the meantime, he fits in with the Dutch folks of Holland just fine!

 

Niagara Falls!

 

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We made it to Niagara Falls!  Our car trip was pretty uneventful, but Peter has a fever.  Only the second one he’s had in his entire life, so it’s heart-breaking.  He’s cutting 3 teeth, and one of them is a MOLAR.  I hear those are the worst.  And they actually are the worst, apparently.  He’s a sad sack but still, such a sweetheart and such a good boy.  A trooper!  But we are praying he feels like his old energetic self as soon as possible.

Patrick took the above picture of us by the falls with his iPhone, but I did try to take better ones with the “fancy” camera.  I’m determined to use it well, and brought the manual to read on the trip.  Hopefully my pictures will improve, and I will share some as they are uploaded.

We’re staying in Buffalo tonight, and our place is juuuuust a bit sketchy.  I think we will get an early start tomorrow.  Next stop: Holland, Michigan!  Land of the Dutch people.  My people.

Back in March, Patrick and I had a conversation that went like this:

Patrick: should I apply for a job in SoCal?
Jen: i don’t even know what that means
  south california?

Actually, that’s exactly how the conversation went, because I copied it directly from the gchat archives.  And… yes, Jen.  That would be Southern California.  I have learned what SoCal means since then, because we are starting our journey West tomorrow morning!  Right now, we are feeling emotionally and physically drained.  Something very precious is ending here as we leave our Northeast home of three years.  We haven’t always felt happy here exactly, or even at home in our jobs or in our apartment.  But we have certainly felt loved.  And loved well.  It has been so painful to say goodbye- my heart was especially heavy yesterday as we made our way to church for the last time.  But Patrick and I are overflowing with gratitude for our friends and family who have invested in our lives, shared their hearts, and poured love and care on us and our little boy.  We’re also extremely thankful that we’re not going West in a covered wagon, and we will see these friends again!  Planes and Skype are wonderful things.

Baltimore is where we spent our first years of marriage.  Boston is where we started our family.  We’re looking forward to the ways God will bless us in the suburbs of LA.  But until then… we drive!  First stop: Buffalo, NY!

the stinker

One thing that has changed as Peter has started to transition from infant to toddlerhood is his smell.  And I don’t mean the craziness going on in his diapers (it is foul, I tell you!).    I’m talking about that lovely baby scent that makes us sound like cannibals.  The smell that has us talking about “eating” our children, gobbling them up.  I realized quite suddenly that Peter does not smell like that anymore!  Sure, he smells sweet after a bath.  But he’s not generally smelling so delicious anymore.  He’s got more of a “I ate a banana recently” type of smell.  Even if he hasn’t had a banana recently.

It’s one of those revelations that are making me tear up these days… the days before he turns 1.  I’d like to think that I’m getting the crying out of the way before The Birthday arrives, but we’ll see.  I’m an emotional gal.

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That’s the face of a stinker, it is.  He’s cute.  But he kinda smells.