Friday, June 21, 2013

10th Annual Girls Trip

In planning this trip, we anticipating it being one of our most low-key girls trips ever. Our plan was to meet up in Miami and hang out the whole weekend at Melissa's parents house in Homestead.
We should have known better than to set our sights low.
Meg and Dave cashed in some points and hooked us up with a sweet night at the Hilton Bentley on South Beach for Friday night.
We hung out in our room...

and laughed...
We hung out by the pool...
and laughed...
Our tour guide (Melissa's friend Brian) gave us an excellent dinner recommendation, so it was fun to get dressed up and go out on the town!

 We had fun exploring some really cool hotels in South Beach, and then we walked to Serendipity for dessert. 
Ange with our fried oreo sundae! It was huge!

On Saturday evening, we headed back to Homestead to get ready for our big day on the airboats!
 We had a fun time exploring the everglades...

had some up close and personal time with some gators!

and hung out with some cool new of them just might have a Grammy. ;-)
It was definitely a trip I'll never forget and as usual, its not because of what we did, but what we did TOGETHER! Love you girls!



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Caney Zoological Park

Just north of Bartlesville, in the tiny town of Caney, KS is the coolest zoological park I have ever visited. On Memorial Day, after our out of town guests had left, we headed up to check it out!  Papa treated us to the VIP passes, so we were able to get very up close and personal with the animals. And they have some cool ANIMALS!!
We watched Tom feed Sterling, the tiger. I just could believe how close we were to these animals. Sterling was not a fan of Mark's stroller and hissed and growled when we walked up to his cage. Creepy!
We watched Kojo, the enormous Grizzly Bear eat a cookie out of Tom's mouth.
We watched them feed the hyenas and make them laugh - such a crazy sound!
We got to get in the enclosure with the kangaroos and this one even let us pet her.
they were hopping all around us! So fun!
One of the male baboons. Allie (one of the owners) told us that she considers him the most dangerous animals in the whole park because of his strength (3x grown man), agility, and aggressiveness - yikes!
Keaton and Mia each held the albino hedgehog
Jason and Scott held the Burmese python - I was happy to be BEHIND the camera for this one. Look how his mouth is taped shut! He kept trying to wrap himself around their legs. Yuck!
Papa with  baby ring-tailed Lemur!
Tom Holland is clearly the Steve Irwin of Midwest. He clearly has such a passion or animals, and loves to share them with other people!
Of course, Keaton and Mark's favorite was Vader, the black spotted leopard
I love that the owners of this park are strong Christians. Here's the mission as stated on their website:
We believe that all we see and know was created by GOD ALMIGHTY.  Our mission is to show the awesomeness of our God in the individual wonder and uniqueness of all His creation.  That He has revealed to us through nature and creation that we are more than an evolved matter over millions of years, but made fearfully and wonderfully in His image, with an eternal soul.  That through the will of free choice man brought sin into the world, but by the love of God he redeemed man back to himself through the life, death, and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ.

Each person has a purpose in life being that we might help those who do not know or have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Remembering that we will all take our last breath someday, and to live an abundant life with hope, knowing that God someday soon will make all things new.
If you are anywhere in the vicinity of Bartlesville or Caney, the Safari Zoological Park is a must SEE!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

AJ's graduation

One of the things I love most about visiting home is the chance to participate in the lives of people we don't usually get to! It was so much fun to get to watch my nephew AJ graduate from the eighth grade last week. It seems like just yesterday that he was 4 years old and too embarrassed to walk down the aisle as my ring bearer because "John Swygard was laugin' at 'em!"
 I guess he's not afraid of people laughing at him now. Nice outfit, AJ!
Now, he's 6'1" - star athlete, excellent student, good guy and a total stud!
With his parents...

With his kindergarten picture - AWW, MOM!
Congrats, AJ!
Next step - HIGH SCHOOL!! How is this possible?!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Country Living

I'm way behind, and don't know where to start, so here's some pics to show you what we've mostly been up to in OK - when we're not taking shelter from tornadoes!

Gator rides!


Grandma and Mia!

Bubble baths!

Lots of cousins!

And more cousins!

Ice cream cones!

helping Brumbra in her garden!


Dancing in our underwear!

petting the dogs!



such a Mark face!

my favorite! This was the Saturday. It was such a beautiful day after the storms finally cleared.
Summer is here!