Sunday, April 28, 2013

Flying thru the Storm

Our flights home were classic Baierl blog fodder.

After being delayed for a couple of hours we boarded our last plane home, knowing the weather in the Midwest was thunderstorms.

I sat next to Caleb and John sat next to David and Nathan. 

It was smooth flying for the first hour. Afterward it was turbulent. After an over exciting week and a day of traveling Caleb was unraveling. He was seated on the wing with the window seat. His obsession with the bumpy ride was getting to the point of serious fear. We had to close the window cover and focus on anything BUT the turbulance. It didn't help that we could see the lightening flashes thru the windows of others' or the fact that mom was a bit concerned herself. In the end noone hyperventilated and everyone clapped when we safely touched the ground. It was an exclaimation point to the end of a very exciting trip

Hanging with the cousins

Our last 2 days on Spring vacation were restful and filled with family.

We stayed one night with John's brother Pete and one night with his sister Amy.  I wish we didn't live so far from them.  They boys were excited to play with Emily and Jacob (and Uncle Pete's comic books) as well as Tyler and Tori. 

It was the perfect ending to an amazing week. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Gold Mining at the Ghost Town

During the gold rush, Apache Junction Az built a quick town to support it's high producing gold mine.  For 5 years the gold mine produced large volumes of the precious medal. Then it went "belly up".  We toured this ghost town and watched the most interesting staged gun fights on Main street. The boys were wide eyed!

Caleb was "hanged" for his crime of missing school assignments and John was hanged for another fictitious crime. 

This place was a favorite of Caleb's as he loved the gold mine tour, panning for gold, the jail, and his "hanging in the public square."

When we arrived, the staff had just caught a rattlesnake on the grounds and we watched carefully where we walked. :)

The Grand Canyon

If you have never gone to the Grand Canyon, you should. It was the most beautiful sight. We saw about 1/4 of the canyon and it was enormous.  I have always wanted to visit and it wasn't a disappointment.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Slide Rock Az

Slide Rock Park in Sedona Az was a pit stop point for us on the way to the Grand Canyon.  I knew it would be a fun energy releasing place from sitting so long in our rental van.  I had no idea it would be one of my favorite trip memories.

First of all, it was a terrific warm sunny Arizona day.  The scenery was gorgeous with red rock cliffs and painted desert everywhere.  I wish a photograph could've captured the beauty. It was a water color painters' paradise. 

The park was a moderately challenging hike over and thru red rock formations that was punctuated by a fresh water nature made water rock slide. 

I was very surprised to learn that David wanted to try the rock water slide.  He isn't normally a thrill seeker. He convinced John to get into swim suits and brave the icy water to slide down the rock slide. John even jumped off the cliff into the water pool below. Caleb,Nathan, and I watched in amazement. It was difficult to get pictures and video since the terrain was rocky, uneven and a stream of water flowed through the middle. That isn't ideal for camera work. I was just hoping we all wouldn't slip and fall in. Luckily the younger boys took it slow and careful Noone needed to be rescued from a plunge. :) If you are ever in Arizona, I highly recommend the Sedona area. The Slide Rock Park was much fun and the painted desert drive was breath taking.

Sonoran Desert

Cactus is delicious!

After a L O N G drive from the California coast, we made it to our Sonoran Desert destination.

I, Jenny, just loved the amazing cactus filled landscape and the warmth of Arizona.  The red rock cliffs all around us were magestic.  How amazing (and dangerous) it must have been to live in this area during the gold rush days.

I was reminded of the roadrunner cartoons while there.  How the landscape was filled with long stretches of nothing but road and cactus, while the coyote chased the roadrunner.

Caleb was brave enough to handle and cut open a prickly pear cactus in order to sample its sweet and wet inside.  Later we had to pick needles outof his finger tips, but he thought it was worth the price.  We bought a jar of cactus jelly which made the best bagel breakfast! Yum.

The sun was relentless,but it was not winter there.  That was so welcome to us Wisconsinites.  The birds were singing early and often and the Juniper trees near us were fragrant.

I completely understand why someone would stay there thru the winter. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Legoland truely had something for everyone.  At ages 11,7,and 5 the boys were thrilled with the rides, lego sculptures and hands on lego activities at Legoland.

Nathan rode the helicopter,boat and sky cruiser rides. Finally John will have someone to go on the roller coasters. Nathan had no fear.

Caleb really enjoyed the sea life at Legoland.  He was able to feel a sea urchin, a sharks egg and a horseshoe  crab. Who knew that would be at Legoland?!

David built and raced (and won) a racecar out of legos. We were in the build and race area for a long time.

We were there from open to close and I bet we got thru 1/4 of the place. Whew!

Whale Watching Newport Beach

Our flights to California landed early in the day, so we decided to take the chance and go whale watching.

The grey whales are active in the Newport Beach area this time of year. We caught the last boat and headed out to sea. 

It was an amazing show. After an hour of sailing we saw just a tiny glimpse of the whales. David and I prayed that the Lord would be willing to allow us to see the whales come out of the water.  It wasn't even 5 minutes later that they were jumping straight up out of the water.

All the boys were thrilled.  We talked to the passengers on the previous boat, but they saw nothing so we told the boys we couldn't be sure about their appearance. 

We saw 9 amazing vertical whale jumps. We also saw many more surfacing blow hole spouts.  They came very close to the boat at one point and the smiles were ear to ear on my boys.

I am so thankful for that memory, especially the faith building experience with David.

Truely Amazing. I have video but no pictures. I never clicked at the right moment. I will try and get video posted of the vertical jumps. If you have have the chance to see that, I encourange you to spend the money.  Breathtakingly amazing experience.

Fly Away Spring Break Trip

It was a great trip! Nathan had his first flight. We went to Legoland, Newport Beach, Sonoran Desert, and family visiting in Southern California. All of this traveling in one week made for 3 excited and tired kiddos.

This was Nathan's first time on an airplane. Caleb didn't remember his last flight either since he was only one year old.

The 2 of them really were vocal about their excitement. A few neighboring passengers smiled and chuckled at their exuberant statements. "Look at the flaps on the wing!" " We are in the air, wohoo!" "Look we are in the clouds!"

None of the boys had any fear about flying. They all loved it.

We planned this trip over 6 weeks but never told the kids until 2 am when we woke them to get them to the airport. We didn't even tell them where we were going until we boarded the plane.

Here are a few pictures of them on their first flight. (more to come in subsequent posts)