Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's been some time since I have written anything. There has, however, been a good reason for it. We have been on vacation since the second of July! We had good intentions of keeping up on things, but we all know how that goes while vacationing.

We started the grand adventure by flying into Chicago and renting a car the next day and driving to my Brother's place in Cottage Grove, WI (Madison area) to spend the fourth with him and his family. It was a nice time, good company and good food, plus we watched fireworks from the comfort of the living room couch. No noise, no crowds, no bugs, beautiful!

From there, we proceeded on to Stanley, WI to my parent's place for some more good food and good company. The girls loved the freedom of a large yard and Ba's toys, which included ATV's and a paddle boat for the pond. Cassie tried fishing, but either the fish weren't interested in her offerings, or the pond froze too deep and killed them. Not sure on that one, but the frog population is alive and well! The girls also discovered the joy of midwest mosquitoes! Poor Kira looked like she had the chicken pox, and she also discovered the business end of what we think was a bumble bee!

From Mom and Dad's we headed to Minnesota for the big Ruis family reunion. We surprised Liz's parents in St. Cloud, they had no idea we were coming! Liz's brother has a house in St. Cloud and we spent the first night there and then headed to Princeton, MN for the reunion for Liz's grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. The intent was for everyone to go fishing Friday night, however, the weather did not cooperate and severe weather moved through the area. We ended up cooking out at Liz's uncle's house instead. The fishing trip came early the next morning for half of the family while the other half went golfing. I took Cassie on the fishing portion and she had an absolute blast. She tried fishing, but with the wind and so many other's fishing, she quickly grew bored of it and moved on to other things. That was fine since I got no fishing done while she was fishing. We started catching good size smallmouth bass in the 12 to 19 inch range. It was a lot of fun and Cassie had a blast supervising and helping the captain of the boat work the anchor and such things. After the fishing and golf trips everyone got together again and had pizza and games. Sunday we all went to church and had a lunch catered afterward, that is where this photo of the whole family was taken. We then headed back up to St. Cloud for supper and then back to Wisconsin to my parent's for a couple more days.

The one downer of the trip was that while we were home some of our good friends had a baby boy who only lived for about two hours. They knew from 18 weeks that there was a fatal birth defect, but they went through with the pregnancy and were able to spend quality time with baby Joel before he died. We were able to attend the funeral and support them through a time that I could never even begin to imagine.

We then started the trek back to California. We stopped in Chicago again and spent a day and night with a friend we were stationed with in Germany. From there we boarded the plane and got into Sacramento at around 10:30 PM on Thursday night. We got the grocery shopping done yesterday and today will be spent dealing with the jungle in the yard, I'm a little scared of what might jump out of the growth at us! That's it in a nutshell for what we have been up to for the past couple of weeks.

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