Thursday, April 18, 2013

Daddy's Return!!

 After returning from Spring Break, we had 4 days to wait for Daddy to come home. He was scheduled to fly into Fort Walton Beach, FL on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 9:40am. We tried not to get too excited because he had a long way to travel and delays could be a possibility. Secretly, we all quietly hoped that he would be on time and did let our excitement bubble out.

We were able to Skype with Daddy while he was in Kyrgyzstan waiting for his airliner to arrive. He planned ahead and sent each of the boys a special gift and a very sincere letter. It was very sweet and the boys were thrilled.
Opening special letters from Daddy.

Then the gifts, Lucas got his very own mini leather man pocket knife. :)
He was so proud!

Axel scored a Lego watch and clock which helps you learn how to tell time.

He was so proud!

There were a few other things like Tic-Tacs and Chocolate Covered Cherries, Daddy did good!
 It was so fun to see him on Skype again. It had been awhile because of Spring Break and this time was super exciting because he was already out of Afghanistan. He had to wait for 3 days in Kyrgyzstan while everyone else arrived before making the long journey across the pond! We had a few days to get ready. Mommy had a "couple"things on her TO DO LIST to knock off and we had to get to decorating!!
Axel kept himself busy while Mommy did chores.

A cardboard box never disappoints!

So fun! I wish I could try but I have a feeling I would get hurt in that thing!

We blew up a lot of balloons!

We put up a lot of streamers too. My favorite, was our paper chain we built over the past 196 days. Each day Daddy was gone, we added a link to our chain and boy did it get long! It made for the perfect decoration and was full of color.
 Finally, Thursday had arrived but Daddy was delayed!! Luckily, he was only delayed 30 minutes and boy, Mommy was actually happy to have that extra time. I had a few things to get together plus a short drive to school to get Lucas. We made it to the airport in time and were able to get a special pass to go right to his gate. This was pretty awesome and really surprised Daddy. He got some instant family time before he met the welcoming crew.
Daddy joked with the boys saying that they should wear name tags so he could recognize them. They both have grown so much and we loved the idea!

We patiently waited with our handmade "Welcome Home" posters.

The boys could hardly stand it, they were sooo excited!!

This is my all time favorite for this specail day (besides our new family photo). It's just so sweet and makes my heart smile.

Before they knew it, DADDY WAS HOME and in their arms!!! He had made it and they couldn't have been happier!

Grins all around!

My boys, all of them together again!!

We were back!!

After exchanging hugs, kisses and some yummy chocolates from Germany, we headed downstairs. Mike had a crew waiting to welcome him home. Here, Eric Buschelman shakes his hand and gives him a big hug and thanks.

It was the perfect (simple) homecoming and we were all thrilled!

When we got home, Axel ran inside and hid behind the couch. He wanted to jump out and surprise Daddy so that's exactly what he did!

Daddy was surprised and now, he was really, really home!

The boys would not leave his side.
We are so, so thankful for Daddy's safe return. The past 7 months feels like a blur and it's hard to imagine him being gone. Funny how the brain works! :) We are all doing great and are having a wonderful time getting back to our new normal!!

Love, JMLA

Spring Break 2013

Lucas' Spring Break fell on the last week of March this year...just before Daddy was scheduled to come home. ;( We were not excited to make plans without him but we knew that getting out of town would be the best thing for us all.

Our plan was to drive to Kentucky and spend a week at our cozy, little cabin and that's what we set out to do. The boys and I headed north for some hiking and climbing at the Red River Gorge.
We love our cabin...especially with some hot cocoa and a good movie!
 After two days, the weather was taking a turn for the worse and snow was in the forecast. Instead of sticking it out in the cabin, we drove back south to our friends house in Knoxville, TN. It was a perfect place to spend two snowy days and a great opportunity to learn about the city. We had no trouble filling up two days in Knoxville. We checked out the local climbing gym, the bouncy castle place, the American Museum of Science and Energy, Discover Center and Ijams Nature Center. We also spent time catching up with Bentley and Jessica. We baked and cooked and giggled and tickled and laughed and enjoyed everyone. It was a great distraction to us missing Daddy and being anxious for him to get home. 
Lucas flying the space shuttle at the Discovery Center. Later that day, the boys tired astronaut ice cream. They were amazed that it was freeze-dried but not super excited about it's weird taste and consistency.

Mr. Legoman was HAPPY!

Ijams Nature Center offered some hiking trails and cool animals to view. We sure miss good hiking trails!

Before heading back to the cabin, we decided to spend a day climbing at Obed. This was our first experience climbing there and it was so fun to check out a new area. It was also the first day we had seen sun after the snow so everyone was in good spirits.

This was Lucas' leaf decoration he created while I was climbing with friends.

Here is a few from the top of a climb we did. It was so nice to be back in the hills and out of Florida!

This area is called South Clear and the climbs sure were fun. Lots of variety but overall short and powerful.

Here Lena climbs to the top enjoying the sun.

Mommy climbed next. It was beautiful!

Mommy working on her tan!

This little pup welcomed us up at the parking lot and joined us for the 20+ minute hike to the crag. He was our loyal companion all day...must have realized that the group with 2 boys had the best possibility for dropped treats and free handouts. :) He reminded me of our old puppy "Nick" with his cute face and short stocky legs. Later in the day, he lead us back to the parking lot even when we got a little off trail. Our little guardian angel!

Check out this roof!!!
We opted for the vertical section of the climb instead of the roof and had plenty of fun. Edward is showing us how it's done.

Here he is again!

Even though the snow was exciting, the boys were super happy to be back outside and in the sun.

Just another view of the crag.

Lucas with his shaggy hair do. :)

Axel was looking pretty shaggy too. Hair cuts were in order before Daddy got home. :)

That night, we stayed at a hostel and the boys were thrilled there was a fire place.

It was a large, solar power cabin with a rain collection system. It was perfect for one night but we were thankful for our friends in Knoxville. They have a beautiful home and they are just so great with the boys. Thanks Bentley and Jess!!!

We eventually made it back to the cabin and had a few beautiful days climbing. The boys even got their climb on!!

I was so proud!! We need to buy Lucas so new climbing shoes...

He went up to the top with zero hesitation.

Axel was very excited to get his turn. He had left his climbing shoes in Knoxville by accident so he was in the same boat as Lucas.

He climbed a little and then wanted to be hauled up to the top. This was a huge improvement from last summer where he was freaked out after going about 6 - 10 feet up. Not this time, he was ready to go up, up, up and then discovered just how fun it as to come down.

It blew me away, they did awesome!!

Everyone always asks me what the boys do while I climb...they climb trees, dig in the dirt, build forts, play games and enjoy nature. They are busy all day long!

Lucas loved these fun trees.

So did Axel. Do you see how big this boy is getting?!!!

Mommy found herself a climb called Jesus Wept 5.12c/d. It's one I have had my sights on for many years. It's very popular and usually has a line of people waiting to get on and for good reason. It's gorgeous!! The photo shows my two most favorite sections. It starts out very steep and powerful (not pictured) and then lightens up a bit but still has a bite all the way to the top.

We talked about our awesome friends in Knoxville?! Here they are...Lucas, Bentley, Axel and Jess who were all having a blast with the iPad and iPhone action movie apps. With the crazy weather, we sure were thankful to have friends willing to open up their home to make our Spring Break complete!
Despite all the back and forth driving, we had a wonderful Spring Break. We also heard wonderful news, Daddy was on his way home!!!

Above Photo: Downtown Portland Oregon Bike Ride

The Danger Zone needed a little update to include not only LUCAS DANGER, but also his little brother...AXEL ADVENTURE!

Welcome to our family blog now known as:

DANGER and ADVENTURE Around Every Corner!!