My parents came to visit us over Easter and we had the opportunity to go sailing with LarryS from church! He’s very generous with his boat and takes lots of guests along for beautiful trips out on Puget Sound.

Larry picked a great day in the midst of a rainy, cold week. We were prepared for the worst but ended up leaving a lot of our warmest gear in the bags. We had sunshine for most of the trip and perfect winds (10-20 knots) to propel us along on our trip to Blake Island.

A huge thanks goes to Larry from all of us for taking us out!


Tyla and I decided that this year would be a big vacation for us. (Well, big for us anyway.) We tossed around a number of options but finally decided that we’d give Disneyland a shot. I went to Disney World when I was five, and Tyla and Elijah have never been there so this will be a pretty new experience for all of us.

I’m a planner so I wanted to suck in some information before making plans, but whew, that’s like trying to take a sip from a firehose. As part of my research, I checked out “The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2018” ebook from our library. I liked it so much that I ended up buying a physical copy of the book to take with us for quick reference.

I won’t know if it’s any good until I’ve been through a trip using their info, but I like their approach. They are basically a bunch of data scientist nerds who love Disneyland. They collect tons of data and model out crowd flows so that you can optimize your route through the various attractions that are interesting to you. And of course in addition to all the data (available in an app for your phone), you also get detailed descriptions of all the rides, restaurants and hotels. Should you stay in the park, withinin walking distance or drive to the park? Is the MaxPass add-on worth it? Will my four year old be scared on ride X? I had tons of questions and this book had a lot of the answers. Hopefully the answers were correct.

So now we’ve booked the flight, transportation to the hotel, the hotel, and our park tickets. We’re working on dinner reservations (for bigger things like character dinners) too. While I don’t like to build a strict itinerary before a trip, I do like to get the majority of the spending decisions out of the way ahead of time.

Our plan is visit Disneyland one day, spend a day resting at the hotel and hanging out in the pool, and then do California adventure on the third day. I don’t really know what to expect with a four year old in tow, but hopefully we’ll leave wanting just a little bit more as opposed to thinking we’ve overdone it.

Look out Mickey! Here we come!

Christmas in Indiana

This year we headed back to Indiana for Christmas. The weather forecast looked cool but pretty dry. The weather forecast was wrong.

The trip out was relatively smooth until we hit carnage at Midway. My parents had kindly made the ~2 hour drive (each way!) to pick us up and the traffic was so bad it took them 30-45 minutes to get from the cell phone lot to us. Thankfully we had them pick us up at Arrivals instead of Departures and that saved the wait from being even longer.

We awoke Christmas Eve morning to snow. A white Christmas was in order, but not just a white Christmas, but we had fresh snow every single day until we left! They also set a record for the coldest two weeks in history. Temps were in the single digits during the day. It was frigid but we still had fun playing in the snow and it never kept us completely snowed in.

Given the weather and the temps, we mostly hung around the house, but we got outside for sledding, exploring in the woods, a tour of the South Bend Chocolate Factory tour and church services among other things. It was very nice to relax and watch Elijah interact with Mom, Dad, Luke, Rachel and David.

Our trip to the airport for the flight back was interesting as well. Bad snow was predicted around the time we’d normally be driving to the airport, so instead, we got to the airport 5 hours early so that Dad and Mom could drive back before it got dark. It turned out to be a very good move because, while the trip there was easy, the trip back for them was quite treacherous. Thankfully they made it safely.

A huge thanks goes out to my parents for hosting us again and for all the driving!

Montana Trip Photos

We took over 1000 pictures on our trip out to Fort Peck, Montana, but here are a dozen of my favorites. The building in the field is the school where Don’s mom taught, the farm pictures are from the two farms that Don grew up on, and the military pictures are from a memorial for all the people from northwest Montana who served in the military.

Montana Reflections

This was my second time driving in Montana. The first was a ski trip to Big Sky so I only got as far east as Missoula and everything was covered in snow. This time it was in 90-100 degree heat and I went ~80% of the way across the state. A few thoughts…

  • I was surprised how far the mountains/hills stretched into the state. I thought they stopped around Missoula but there are some decent hills all the way out to Havre and even beyond.
  • The speed limits are really fast: 80 on the interstate and 70 on the two lane roads. If you’re going 5 over you probably need to slow down for some of the corners. Don’t count on a corner sign to tell you to slow down.
  • Passing is pretty easy on the two lane roads if you encounter someone, but watch out because pretty much everything is a passing zone. Just because you have a dotted line doesn’t meant that there isn’t a dip in the road hiding a car or even a corner.
  • Drivers were really courteous. It’s refreshing to get more than a few hundred miles from a coast and see how nice people really can be.
  • It’s beautiful! I was sucked in by views that stretched out for many miles across rolling hills full of wheat.
  • Growing up in northern Indiana, I felt like I lived out in the country. That phrase has a different definition in Montana. Going across highway 2, we passed more than a few towns that were only marked by a small dirt road heading off into the distance and a green sign indicating that there was a town there somewhere.
  • There are a lot of pickups in Montana. I wish I could find a statistic for per capita truck ownership. Montana has to be high up on the list. A lot of those trucks have grille guards on them and it’s not hard to see why with all the dead deer on the sides of roads.

I dream about where I’d live if I had access to plenty of money and didn’t need to make more. Montana is probably in the top 3.