Yes indeed, the first Christmas program of 2019 is now history! Hopefully not categorized with the horror section of the history books. We are not perfect by any stretch, but our heart's desire is to spread Christmas cheer into each and every heart this season! Not just a momentary smile, although that is desired as well, but a lasting cheer that will guide them throughout the year!
For the first time, I forgot my harp stool!! So after quickly trying out a couple chairs which were too low, mom suggested using an upturned bell case! It was a little high but certainly better than nothing!
Waiting for his song!
Laura plays "Jesus Loves Me"
Selfie time after the service!
Our second program was at a local decor store/coffee shop having their annual Christmas open house! We provided music for the shoppers for around three hours. The backdrop was festive and cheery!
A friend came to entertain the little ones and cheer us on!
I always feel better about myself if I can get my blog-post title words to all start with the same letter. Must be something about my personality. Or where I learned to write. Hmm. :)
A litter of 3 week old puppies experiencing grass for the first time! They weren't so sure about it. :)
Stuart doesn't mind sharing his breakfast with the kitty....
Caleb loves cuddling with the puppies!
Yesss! It's Autumn season again and that means time to dig out the pumpkins and apple cider and start a fire!!!!
Ethan celebrated his 14th birthday this past week, complete with a lego theme party and an orange marmalade cake! Ethan is a huge blessing around the farm and house and has now passed me (his "big" sister) up in height! We won't mention how far back he became stronger then me! Ha!
And yes, lots of practicing! Seven of the eight of us are now playing two or more instruments and that means looooads of music going on! There are often people playing on both pianos downstairs and two people upstairs playing violin or cello! Lots of noise, but we love it!
Unfortunately, it was rainy and chilly (40*s) on Wednesday so instead of going back into the park to see the geysers, (it would have been a couple hours of driving to get there) we decided (sadly) to start the trek a day early down to Colorado where we were going to stay with relatives.
A couple hours from Yellowstone Park, was the town of Thermapolis, home of the largest hot mineral springs in the world! They were literally the temperature of bath water and even though it was a chilly day, many people were out swimming in them! That was very fascinating!
There was a swinging bridge over the springs and of course we had to rock it a bit. :)
We also stopped at a natural land bridge over a pretty creek. Here Laura and Caleb are standing on top of the "bridge".
We stopped for the night at a very remote campground where we kept driving and driving through, not sure where the road was taking us! We ended up at a beautiful campsite overlooking this amazing lake surrounded by mountains and cliffs! It was completely quiet and desolate! Incredible!
Dad & Mom at a fancy picnic pavilion at the campground.
You can see our campsite from this view. Way out on the stone cliff above the lake.
We arrived at Uncle Jonathan & Aunt Anna's house near Colorado Springs. They have this majestic view of Pikes Peak right from their living room window!
The next morning, we drove the steeeep switch backs up to the peak of Pike, I mean-Pike's peak! The ride up was scary and beautiful but the scenery at the top was worth the ride! I've never been up on a mountain peak that high before ( sorry, you westerners!) and besides being light-headed and freeeeezing, it was a wonderful experience! There's just nothing like a "mountain-top experience" to cheer up your day!
Next on the agenda was the gorgeous Garden of the Gods! We hiked up to this formation, called the Siamese twins.
Here we are in the "window".
The next morning, we were able to tour this beautiful 100-year old castle built by William Palmer, the man who built and founded Colorado Springs. A Christian organization has taken it over and uses it for a retreat center and head quarters.
Here we are on the veranda.
Our next stop was the amazing Cave of the Winds! We took a guided 45-minute tour, along with our cousins. We children haven't been in a large cave before and we greatly enjoyed it!
Outside the cave, there was some outdoor activities which the boys were excited to take in, including a climbing wall and zipline over the canyon!
Jonathan and cousin Daniel, getting ready to ride the zipline!
Sunday evening, our relatives took us to the beautiful Indian Paint mines! Apparently the Indians would take the colored clay from these rocks and turn it into their paint and dye! So interesting!
Rose, Charity, Susanna and Carrie.
Hmm....he has more appendages then when I last saw him...
We left Colorado and started towards our home in Missouri. On our way, we stopped at this magnificent church, Cathedral of the Plains. It is the largest cathedral west of the Mississippi.
In Missouri, we spent time at our grandparent's house, cleaning flowerbeds, mowing and trimming.
Caleb was happy to dig through Grandpa's garden pots looking for potatoes!
We spent an evening with some Mennonite friends who have taken on the project of raising kangaroos! It is quite a spectacle to watch the baby joeys and their mothers racing around!
Too much cuteness!! Caleb loved holding their little adopted baby girl!
And that brings you up to date on the Bradford travels! We are now on our way home to Pennsylvania and despite battling a wheel flying off our camper and hub troubles, we are hoping to arrive safely in a few hours!
Our family had a tremendous few days in Yellowstone National Park and I thought I would post some of our highlights along with a favorite place of each member of the family!
Mom's favorite were the majestic mountains and vast scenery!
Looking out over the huge sulfur springs.
The sulfur springs and mud volcano were Dad's favorite!
The Lower Yellowstone Falls was Charity's favorite!
We hiked down a very steep mountain to look over this beautiful water fall!
The Yellowstone River snaking its way through the Yellowstone Canyon.
The Canyon was Susanna's favorite!
The Buffalo were Caleb's favorite!
We passed multiple bison walking down the road. One time, they even held traffic up for several minutes as a whole herd tried crossing.
Caleb posing in front of Mammoth Springs, a large area with hot springs.
The hot, mineral rich water carves these amazing terraces!
Laura loved the Elk and their babies best!
Just below the springs, a herd of elk decided to hang out in a yard! The rangers were keeping busy trying to get the crowds of people to stay far enough back!
In front of an overlook and water fall in the northern section of the park, almost to Montana.
We drove up to the Montana border so we could say we've been in the state of Montana! In all, we counted up and we've been in six new states this trip that we children have never been in! Including... Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
The Waterfalls were Ethan's favorite too!
This is the Upper Falls on the Yellowstone River.
Somebody offered to take our family picture in front of this mountain overlook!