Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Having a look at our home country

We've been on a road trip, but we're back home in Vancouver... for another 2 weeks! That's right, we leave for Japan 2 weeks from today! Feeling excited and antsy and a bit nervous...

Anyway, before we left for Japan, we wanted to spend some time with both our families. Keith really wanted to take a road trip. We flew way too much last year, then we flew to Colorado in May, and of course we have a lovely 12 or so hours on the plane to Japan to look forward to. So, we decided on a road trip.

First stop: Newcastle, WA. We spent time with my parents and brother, and we visited all my grandparents and my aunt and uncle and cousin.

Second stop: Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. It was hot and moist. This means it was beautiful and green. Last year there was a drought.

Third stop: Grand Forks, ND. We had an eventful time. There were many people to visit, steak to eat... and a sump pump to fix. Keith stayed up half the night bailing water so that the basement wouldn't flood more than it already had. Yuck. Other than that, we spent just about every waking moment with special people. Keith also preached a sermon at our old church. Our nephew, Michael got a lot bigger! He loves his meat like his daddy, and he loves the piano like his mommy and Uncle Keith.

He likes to show affection by giving kisses... awwww!!

Fourth stop: Aberdeen, SD! Here we met our nephew, Alexander Timothy Sweet for the first time! He was born on June 11. However, I have to say that his older sister, Elizabeth upstaged him most of the time... she's smart, cute, and 2 years old! We celebrated her birthday on July 3.

Comparing Alexander with the sleeping face of his grandfather...

Big sister is still Daddy's little girl.

We read lots of books together.

Grandpa is the master at burping the baby!

Elizabeth went down every slide at Storybook Land.

Fifth stop: Fort Dodge, IA. I think by this time I had run out of picture-taking steam. There was just too much cuteness among niece and nephews. Anyway, we had some much needed rest and enjoyed spending time with Keith's parents.

Sixth stop: Glacier National Park, MT. (Yes, Montana, not Glacier BAY NP in Alaska.) This was the "anniversary vacation" I suppose--we celebrated our 4th anniversary on July 9! Well... on that particular day, we actually spent 13 hours in the car. Really we celebrated over the next few days.

This is what highway patrol is like in Montana, apparently. This guy was sitting in his car by the road where we stopped to buy some cherries.

Our first day in Glacier we drove the park road and took 2 short hikes.

The second day, we hiked the "Garden Wall" trail, so named for its spectacular wildflowers all summer long.

We met a friendly goat and some friendly hikers on the trail.

We took a very steep spur trail to a lunch spot, and we were rewarded with bighorn sheep, marmots, and great views. How many bighorn sheep can you count in this picture?

Answer: 6! It was amazing to watch them running carelessly around (or so it seemed) on the scree.

The last few miles of the trail were not as fun. The sun came out, and because of recent forest fires, there was no shade. At present, I look like a half-cooked lobster. Yikes.

Seventh stop: Leavenworth, WA. We ate a great meal and then camped in a beautiful place. Keith played with the fire. He likes to do that.

Final stop: Edmonds, WA. We hung out with my brother, looked at pictures, and ate vegetables and rice for dinner. That was a nice change from meat, meat, starch, and meat. We ate a lot of meat on this trip. Looking forward to eating lots more rice and vegetables when we get to Japan!!

We're glad to be home in Vancouver, even if we don't have much time left here! Give us a call or an email if you want to hang out. :)

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