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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Matt's Vacation

Dear Family and Friends,

After we returned from Minnesota with our grandson, we got Matt, our son, for a vacation to Georgia and Ecuador.

Here is a recap:

As soon as we got out of the Atlanta airport and picked up our rental car, we stopped at a Georgia institution....Waffle House.

We then drove to Columbus, GA to visit with family for two days.  Here is Matt front porch sitting with his Aunt Mary Anne.

We took one day to drive to Alabama to gamble at a casino.  Aunt Opal was delighted to go with us.  We took a few minutes out to eat.  Matt is the only one who came away with more than he started with.

We then drove back to Atlanta to catch a flight for Quito.

We spent a couple of days sightseeing in Quito

Matt loves the batidos here.

We then flew down to Cuenca.

Sharing time with friends,

enjoying the flower market,

relaxing in the park,

and visiting museums.

This is the Museo de las Conceptas located in the convent of the Immaculate Conception.  It is a museum that tells the life of the nuns who lived there in the 1700's.

Another museum we enjoyed was the Museo de las Culturas Abroigenes.  Here Matt learned about the pre-colombian civilization in the Andes.

And of course, everytime he visits we have to go to Turi to look over Cuenca.

When Matt saw it being cooked out of doors, he decided to try Cuy.  (Cuy is guinea pig)  Cuy has been eaten in the Andes for hundreds of years and is still a local favorite dish.

After a few days in Cuenca we were off to the Amazonia part of Ecuador and on to Banos.

Here are head waters to the mighty Amazon River.

Chuck and Matt in a restaurant.  Notice there is no glass in the windows.  It is quite warm in this part of Ecuador.

We continued on to Banos.

The best attraction of his trip was the Tree House in Banos.

Here is Chuck waving from the tree house.

There is a swing that swings out over the edge of the mountain for those who dare to participate.  Actually none of the three of us chose to do it.

It was beautiful up being on top of the world.

Matt did ride on a low flying zip line and had a great time.  Here he is... so proud of his great accomplishment.

From Banos we drove to Quito where Matt and I caught a flight back to the USA.

Here is a tired but happy man waiting in the lounge at the Quito airport.  Quite a great two week vacation.

After I flew home with Matt and attended a prescheduled meeting, I returned to Cuenca.

Now as I am putting this post together, Chuck and I are once again in the lounge at the Quito airport.  We are on our way to Alaska.  Tomorrow is our 30th wedding anniversary and we will spend it flying to Anchorage.  We are taking a cruise with my brother, Norman and sister-in-law, Nancy.

Looking forward to sharing that adventure with you.

We will be back home in Cuenca in about three weeks.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mall of America through the Eyes of a Boy

Dear Family and Friends,

After we said our goodbyes to the Mickelsons we headed south for our two hour drive to Minneapolis.  One thing that Cannon said he would love to see in Minnesota was the Mall of America.

We had a couple of hours to spare and we let Cannon pick what he wanted to see and do.

He knew exactly what he wanted to do.......Lego store and Nickelodian Land.

Here are some photos.

From about the third floor.  Cannon looks over the balcony at the giant structures made out of legos.

And then there was Nickelodeon Land which covers the atrium floor.  HUGE.
It includes roller coasters, a log flume and many, many rides.

And then it was time to turn in the rental car and taxi to the St. Paul train station. We boarded the train just in time to put on our jammies and jump in bed.

The next day Cannon befriended a cute little boy.  They entertained each other quite a while.

Also, there were the new legos to play with.

And, of course listening to an audio book helps pass the time.

Mimi and Poppi loved looking out the window of the train and seeing the heartland of the USA as we rolled along.

After another nights rest, we arrived at the Pasco, WA train station at 5:30am. All of Cannon's family came to greet him and welcome him back home. Here is mama bear hugging her cub.

Family is so important...I know Cannon will have great memories of this trip.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Poppi and Mimi kidnap Grandson...

Dear Family and Friends,

I appologize to you all.  I am guilty of not posting on our blog for almost two months.  No excuses....just busy living life and procrastinating.

I do have some things I would like to share with you and if I don't do it now it will wither into vapor as new things happen to take its place.

My last post (April 18th) was about the first couple of weeks on our trip back to the U.S. to visit with family and friends.

After checking in on Clarke and Brenda in Oregon, we headed north to our old stomping grounds...Tri-Cities, Washington.  After a few days of visiting and hugging, we kidnapped our 11 year old grandson, Cannon, and wisked him off to Minnesota via Amtrak.

Our oldest daughter, Merri, lives in Minnesota.  She is quite a remarkable lady managing their country home, vegetable garden, chickens and homeschooling their ten children.

Among our ten Minnesota grandchildren is Nathaniel, 12 years old.  Cannon and Nathaniel are first cousins, they talk via skype and play games together online YET they had never met each other face to face.

Cannon is homeschooled too in Washington state, making it easy for us to travel by train during the off season.  It took us two days to travel all the way to Minneapolis.

After we arrived in Minneapolis, we rented a car and drove for about two hours to the northern part of Minnesota...way out in the country to visit Merri, Ken and our grandkids. Cannon was excited and a little apprehensive at the same time.

As soon as we arrived we had a huge welcoming committee of grandchildren.  The Minnesota cousins enveloped Cannon and folded him right into the pack.  They were running and playing immediately.  The apprehension Cannon had disappeard in about five secconds.

Here are some pictures of our fabulous weekend.  All these happy, wonderful grandchildren...we could not be more blessed.

Below is Poppi passing out Ecuador gifts to the kids.

The day after we arrived the kids came and swam in our hotel pool.  Everyone had a great time.

Look at this cutie.

Here is Cannon, who by this time was an honorary Mickelson kid.

He and Nathaniel had a great time playing together.

Even Poppi got in the fun.

The whole bunch got out of the pool just long enough for a quick group picture and then they were right back to splashing and playing.

 Here are Merri and Ken, the mom and dad to a swell bunch of kids.  We are so proud of all of them.

The next day Merri had arranged for us all to participate in a 5K fun run.

Everyone participated from the oldest child to the youngest.

Here is Cannon, so proud to have finished the race.

After the race, we all went to IHOP for a big breakfast.

Smiles all around while we wait for breakfast.

We spent the afternoon playing games back at the house and spending one on one time with the grandkids.

We even celebrated three birthdays.  The kids other grandpa (Orville) is sitting at the table watching his granddaughters blow out their candles.

Way before anyone was ready, it was time to leave.  Hugs and hugs were passed around.  It warmed our hearts to see that this meetup was such a overwhelming success.

One last shot before we get in the car to head back to Minneapolis.

Next I will share about Cannon's trip to Mall of America and our train ride back home.