Joyful whirlwind…

Joyful whirlwind…

While my goal is to post faithfully to Sweet Journey Home, life has certainly been a joyful whirlwind these past few months with very little time on the computer.

Late May, my firstborn grandchild graduated from high school.  As we watched him march into the large auditorium with his class, I realized – once again – that time marches on as well.  Early summer, we traveled to Chicago where we had a wonderful time with our sons and their families.  In July, we enjoyed having my precious granddaughter Sarah here for ten days and then the three of us traveled to Wyoming where we met my oldest son and his family in the Grand Tetons.  (Except for my sixteen-year-old granddaughter Noelle who spent the summer in Peru working in an orphanage and the medical clinic that my son started there!)  We all spent some fun time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Doug enjoying mountain biking with my son and his family.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t had quite as much experience as they have coming down the mountains.  Halfway down the trails in the mountain bike park, Doug fell and broke three ribs!  Needless to say, that put a damper on our trip and ended his mountain biking career!  Early September, we returned to Chicago to celebrate birthdays for my now three and five year old granddaughters.

Our nimg_6549-1ewest adventure???  We have leased an apartment in the neat little neighborhood of Ravenswood in Chicago!!!  We will spend at least half-time there and half-time in Iowa until we’re just too old to travel and that should be a long time since the Mega Bus is always an option!  We will actually be able to WALK a few short blocks to see these two precious granddaughters in the photos!  With two sons and their families in Chicago, we think this is an awesome idea and we are so excited about it!  Our new apartment is on a tree-lined street and in what is rated as “a walker’s paradise” – which simply means we will be a short walking distance to the train, Starbucks, many quaint little stores and restaurants.   The apartment is in a vintage, gated U-shaped set of buildings that were built in the 1930’s I believe.  We’ve purchased a few antiques for the apartment in keeping with the vintage theme.  The buildings and lawn are well kept with trees and flowers.  It’s just down the street from the mayor’s house so, hopefully, that’s a good thing.  There is so much to see and do in Chicago – including a host of museums we’ve yet to visit.   Most importantly, there will be more time with our big family in Chicago and we are thrilled about that!

I will be sharing our Chicago adventures and a lot of pictures on a brand new blog (not yet underway) at:  http://www.homesweethomechicago.net

To Montana and back…

To Montana and back…

When you spend two long days in an automobile with someone, you get to know them pretty well.  Doug and I left on November 12th for the 1,130 mile journey to Montana for a sweet visit with my firstborn and his precious family.  Over the course of a couple of days, there was a lot of conversation and just as much laughter.  Thankfully, we have like tastes in music and enjoyed it at a volume we could actually hear!  We both sing along with the music and that’s fun.  We also have similar tastes in reading material and we both like mysteries…which made listening to a couple of books on tape enjoyable.  When we took breaks, we were anxious to get back to the mystery to pick up where we left off.  I think that I can honestly say the time and the miles actually flew by.

For the most part, we were blessed with good weather, marvelous scenery and light snow!  The funny photo below was one of several cute “photo ops” at the Wyoming Welcome Center.  I confess the one of me on horseback was funnier but won’t be published!  😉

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Rafting in snowy waters photo op at the terrific Wyoming Welcome Center…

We loved our time with my son and his family.  One day we drove about two hours to the Patagonia Outlet in Dillon, Montana.  Patagonia is expensive but a terrific 40% off sale made their prices look a whole lot better!  It was a beautiful drive with awesome scenery along the way…including several impressive Montana ranches!  On the way, we also made a stop at Montana Wheat Bakery & Deli for lunch and a visit to the bakery & gift shop.  On the evening before we left for the return trip home, Doug treated us all to pizza at the MacKenzie River Pizza Company in downtown Bozeman.  We had such a good time, but all too soon it was time to say goodbye.  I miss them all already!

On the return trip, we took the two-lane road through the Black Hills of South Dakota which made for some beautiful and interesting scenery.  We stopped for a break to check out a very neat place, the Spearfish Canyon Lodge.  It reminded me very much of the lodge in the movie Christmas in Connecticut.  It would be a great place for a winter vacation with all the snowy trails and snow mobiles for rent!  It would also be a great place to meet the family for a fun vacation in the Summer.  It is not far from Mount Rushmore, our next stop on the trip and only 2.5 miles from where the film Dances With Wolves was filmed.

I must be one of the few remaining people on earth who had not seen Mount Rushmore – along with Doug.  It is an inspiring, captivating place.  A place borne in the heart of a dreamer and sculptor.  To say it leaves an impression on you is an understatement.  Seeing it with snow covering the mountains made it extra special I think.  Not to mention the fact that on that bitter cold windy afternoon, we were two of only a handful of people in the entire park.

Enjoy the slide show below of our visit and our journey back home…

A snowy walk in Montana…

 

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