Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happy Birthday x 2

April 12th is a very important day in Morningstarland - it's both Sasha and Grammy's birthday! Double the fun, double the celebration, and double the smiles.

The day started in the right and proper birthday way - donuts, chocolate milk, presents.

Ben was so, so excited to give Sasha the birthday present he chose for her: 1 pound of Lucky Charms marshmallows. Ah, Amazon, is there anything you can't provide us?

You may be wondering, what does one do with a pound of sweet chunks of Styrofoam? I suggested maybe we could make Rice Krispie treats and mix them in. Grammy thought they could add them to Cheerios to make DIY Lucky Charms. But so far the kids are just eating them by the handful. Ugh.

Among Sasha's other gifts was her annual Kazakhstan gift - this year an embroidered camel. When we were in Kazakstan on Sasha's epic adoption journey, we purchased enough gifts give her a special Kaz present every year. It's such a fun tradition to celebrate Sasha's birth land on her birth day!

The big gift was a Nintendo 3DS - woah! We figured that a big, bad 8-year-old was (hopefully!) ready for the responsibility of her own game system and the gift was a huge hit. She got accessories and games from Buddy and Grammy, including a carrying case, so this girl is ready to go!

The kids spent a fun morning playing their networked games and teaching Sasha the ins and outs of Luigi Land, etc. The girl has a long way to go to catch up to her brothers in the video game department, but with her determination and moxie she'll probably eclipse them in no time. At least she'll always be able to beat them in Nintendogs.

Happy happy 8th and 68th birthday to two fun, beautiful, full-of-life gals!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Countdown to Colima!

We've collected donations
We've divvied stuff up so nobody's suitcases tops 50 pounds
We even got a special prayer and send-off at church

And now it's time to pack our bags, check those passports one more time, and head to Mexico! We are so excited about our trip and can't wait to serve the kids and caregivers of the Hogar de Amor orphanage.

Throughout the trip we'll be updating our team blog,, with stories, photos, and prayer requests. We really appreciate your support, prayer, and encouragement for this trip - please keep us in your prayers as we serve in Mexico next week!

If you'd like some suggested prayer requests, here's a list to get you started. Please pray with us that
  • We would quickly gel as a team and that a spirit of teamwork and service would infuse everything we do in Mexico.
  • Our families, church family, friends, and community would know that they are an integral part of this trip through their encouragement, prayer, and financial support.
  • Both we and those we serve will be transformed through our service.
  • Logistics simply work.  That health, transportation, lodging, dining, planning around our work projects, and the myriad of other details would reinforce, never detract from, God's work in and through us.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Moab Skinny Tire Festival

We have a chock-full cycling season ahead of us so this year we decided to kick the season off a little early with the Moab Skinny Tire Festival. 50 to 60 miles a day, riding roads I think look fun every time we go to Moab, basking in the 70-degree afternoons - it was a heck of a jump start to our cycling calendar! And the best part is that this year Steve is joining us on Team C4C, which means I get to log even more miles with my very favorite biking buddy!

Day 1: Riding to Dead Horse Point

Having a 14-year-old brings myriad benefits... wait... strike that. Having a 14-year-old brings one huge benefit - babysitting. Although we couldn't leave the kids all day, having an awesome babysitter in Sam meant we could do some miles every day together. It was great!.

Pete and I tackle the 2,700-foot climb up to Dead Horse Point. It turns out that 2,700 feet of climbing over 36 miles when one's body is still in winter-fat mode is... a lot.
Our mornings started cool, but once the sun came out and the climbing miles started we warmed up quickly enough.

Here's Steve riding down from Dead Horse Point. Steve may not enjoy the uphill portions of our rides much but man does he love a good descent!

Day 2: Riding North from Moab

I was particularly looking forward to this ride because we got to try out the new bike path heading north from Moab. The path was great, the views were fab, and the company was sublime.

The only downside of the day was that Steve had some mechanical trouble. He had to nurse his bike home for the last 15 or 20 miles but he was a trooper and we made it back to the campsite in time to take WanYing and the rest out for Pi and Gotcha Day Pie so all's well that ends with pie.

Day 3: Arches National Park

We had to get the kids home for school on Monday but I really, really wanted to do the Arches National Park leg of the Skinny Tire Fest so Steve pulled a superman and took the kids home and let me stay one more day. Did I mention lately that I married well?

How cool is this? One of the other couples on the ride had a Kaz connection - he was born in Russia and she in Kazakhstan so we knew we had to take a Team Astana group shot. Small world!

Riding the Arches road really was a dream come true. I want to ride it every time we come to Arches, but the narrow roads and insane amounts of traffic always lead me to the better choice of enjoying the park from a car.

But when I saw the Arches road on the Skinny Tire Fest agenda I knew this was my time to cycle it with the comparative safety of a low-traffic day, signed route, and large group of cyclists - and it was a blast!

The Moab Skinny Tire Fest was such a fun start to our cycling season. Only 2 1/2 months until the Huntsman 140!


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