Facebook Madness

Well, I have to confess...I've been unfaithful to my blogging friends! I don't know what got into me, but yesterday on a whim, I decided to try and look at someone's facebook which of course you cannot do unless you have your own facebook. So, I signed up. I figured I could do it just for the sole purpose of "flying under the radar" and looking around. Well, I was wrong. Apparently I was facebook dumb. To make a long story short, I am obsessed with this facebook thing. It's totally consuming. Like last night, I had to pull myself away from it because even I was getting annoyed with myself. However, in just 24 hours, I am now in touch with like half of my classmates from high school. People I haven't talked to in years....seriously, years. Isn't that crazy? Also, I am clearly getting "old" because I didn't understand most of what I was doing and I had to call my youngest sister and ask her what stuff meant...that's lame. Also, now my email inbox is full and I mean full, of "friend requests" from like people all over my life, past and present. What kind of pandora's box have I unearthed??? I'm sort of enjoying facebook, but I'm also getting stressed out by it and I've only had it for one day! I think I can handle the blog world but I have serious doubts about the facebook world for now!


Home Again...

My husband is home and all is well with the world again! It's always fun when I have a few days to myself, but nothing compares to having my man home again. It's so quiet around here without him...imagine that! He was gone on a Pastor/Elder prayer retreat for a few days. I always love when Trav goes to prayer retreats because he comes home in such a good mood! That's one of my favorite things about our church and our leadership. Our Pastors and Elders are committed to seeking the face of God and not just his hand. I am so thankful that Trav gets to serve with such godly men...we love our church and after a summer of being busy, it's so nice to be home again and to once again, love on the people at Grace. God has been so good to us and I'm happy to say that I feel refreshed and excited about what God has in store for us this year, we both do. After our crazy, stressful summer...truly that is a miracle!


Belated Anniversary Pictures

In all the chaos of camp, I forgot to post some pictures from our Anniversary...which of course, does not reflect how much I love my husband! This year we celebrated 4 years of marriage by going to a bed and breakfast for the first time. We were already on vacation in Iowa, so my parents gave us a night at this beautiful place in Dubuque, Iowa. Dubuque is on the Mississippi River and is a beautiful, historic city that was built on some gorgeous bluffs. The bed and breakfast we went to was called the Hancock House and is a historic home on a bluff, overlooking downtown and the pretty. We chose a room on the third floor because it had a hot-tub in the top of the tower, with an unbelievable view! So, how fun to celebrate our anniversary there.


We're finally home from camp!

Well, it's Saturday now and we're finally home, recovering from a week with junior high students! What a great week it's been. I'm always amazed at how tired and sore we are when we get home from something like that! We are just chillin today, watching tv, and laying around...perfect. I have absolutely no idea how we will do this when we have kids, but I guess we'll figure it out when we need to! Anyway, for now we are happy to be in our own house, in a clean bed with a clean shower!! And Ryley has done nothing but sleep since we walked in the door last night! Have a great weekend...

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing...

Of course, despite the fun and games, the real reason we go to camp is to build relationships and point our students to Jesus. We play all those games to create a fun atmosphere and to let the kids see us be silly with them, but our real purpose at camp is to make sure these kids know where they are going to spend eternity and to help them see their need for salvation if they are unsure. This year we had 5 kids who accepted Christ on Thursday night and Travis baptized 10 students on Friday morning before we left...we consider both of those things, the greatest part of camp. It's such a blessing to look a student in the eye and hear them vocalize their love for Jesus and their need for him. Suddenly all the late nights, endless pranks, and irritating kids fade away and you realize why camp is so worth it! These are pictures of our baptism service yesterday...we always invite parents to come up and witness this awesome occasion in their son or daughter's life, and they are thrilled to drop everything and come. In addition to the kids, Travis baptized one of our counselors, Ellie, who I mentored this year. What a fun way to end the week!

What would camp be without crazy, messy games???

One of our traditional games at camp, that we would never change, is our annual shaving cream war! Every kid has to bring 2 cans of shaving cream, which we confiscate at registration, to contribute to the arsenal. We basically throw cans all over the field, and then blow a whistle and let the kids go at it! Chaos at its finest. After they've had enough, or usually- they can't see anymore, we let them play on a giant "slip n' slide" we've created. It's pure camp bliss! Oh, and my husband LOVES it!!!

Ryley's Camp Adventures

Bringing Ryley to camp was so great! It was so much easier for us to just bring him than to have to arrange for some one to take care of him...and I didn't have to wonder if he was ok or what he was doing. He stayed in his crate on our porch all week at night, but during the day, he ran and played and swam with the kids. Our cabin was in the middle of all the boys cabins, which was really great because Ryley became a total bonding point between us. At all hours of the day, we always had boys hanging around our cabin, playing with Ryley and talking to us. It was funny because some of the boys who are so quiet, totally opened up around Ryley because they had a dog at home and they wanted to talk about that, which of course led to other things. Who knew God would use Ryley this week to be a connection point with so many campers?? Anyway, Ryley was totally exhausted everyday because he played all day! Here are some pictures of him swimming in the lake with Travis and the kids...he swam everyday for at least an hour and the kids were so great with him. We've decided we need to get him in lakes more because he loves it!


Talent to speak!

It's tradition to have a "talent show" every year and this year we had appearences from The Spice Girls; N'SYNC; and the Backstreet Boys...we pull out all the stops at JAM camp and bring in the heavy hitters!! The kids loved it...we have some great counselors who are willing to do anything to make the kids laugh!

Pirate Night...

We had our dress up night last night, complete with a camp full of pirates, big and small. The kids did such a good job getting into the theme and we had alot of fun with them! Here are some "mean" pirates!


For the cousins!

Here are the girls in action! Everybody is doing great!! I'll take more pictures tonight for Pirate night...Love, Steph

Happy Campers!

Here are some fun pictures from our afternoon extravaganza yesterday! We traditionally play big group games everyday and the ball you see pictured above is affectionately known as "the death ball"...I hate it because kids always get plowed, but of course they love it! So here are some of our best blonde counselors; the kids in action; and Travis! Also, for my relatives, notice Hayley Sue in action on the last shot! We're having a great time...miraculously we were spared from the huge storms last night. We were watching the radar all night and talking to local weather people because there were storms with 4" hail literally all around us for most of the night. We believe God covered us with His hand because our camp stayed dry while people in a 3 mile radius circuling us got pounded. We actually got one really cool lightening show!


Yes, we get paid to do this!

We are gone this week at Junior High camp, but I thought you'd like these pictures of us getting ready to go! Our theme this week is "seeking the ultimate treasure" so everything we are doing is pirate themed...this is us, getting our pirate costumes ready the night before! We asked all the staff and counselors to come to registration dressed as pirates, to get the kids excited, and we're also dresssing up one night at camp with all the kids for a party...funny, huh? We do get some wireless internet here, so I'll check in this week with pictures and updates, but for now, enjoy our silliness!! Oh, and Ryley is dressed up too because he's at camp with us and having a great time(he told me)...he's playing with all of our students and Travis took him swimming in the lake today...he lives quite a life for a dog!!


Little Miss Ella Grace!!

One of my favorite things about our trip, was getting to meet my best friend Amber's new little girl! Miss Ella was awfully sweet and the proud owner of some big cheeks! She's just adorable and we had such a fun time holding her. Of course I wasn't thinking like a scrapbooker while we were there and I didn't take a picture of me with her, but I at least took some pictures of her and of Ella with my Mom. It's so weird to see my Mom with my best friend's baby...I had some flashes of what it will be like when she's holding my baby! Weird...and good! Anyway, the Sheeleys are doing well....considering they're getting no sleep and they're trying to deal with a whole new world of responsibility! I'll get so see them in September when I throw a shower for Amber and Ella with some of our friends. Enjoy those cheeks until then!!


One of the things Travis wanted to do on our vacation, was ride in RAGBRAI, a classic Iowa event. For 35 years (I think) RAGBRAI has been in existance. It is an acronym that stands for "Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa." The week long ride is planned a year in advance and the route takes you from the western border of the state to the eastern border of the Mississippi river. The tradition is to dip your front tire in the Mississippi on the last day to signify that you rode all the way across the state. Each day is broken up in a ride that is approximately 60 miles long. The routes are designed so that you ride from one small town to the next. What makes it so great is that each town rolls out the red carpet for the ragbrai riders and there are tons of vendors, bands, and activities to participate in. Oh, and there are about 25,000 riders who participate, so for most of the small towns that means huge bouts of revenue. In fact it's grown so large and popular now, that this is the second year that Lance Armstrong rode in it all week! He rides with a team of cancer patients and survivors and they raise money for his cancer research foundation. It's pretty cool to see.

Everyday, there is a town designated as the overnight stop and in that town there are all of the sudden 25,000 people camping out in tents and buses all over the place! That was crazy. Another fun thing about the ride is to see all the crazy teams of people who ride together every year. For some people, RAGBRAI is a serious ride, for others it's totally social and fun, and for others, it's a big beer fest across the state! I posted a picture of one funny bus, out of the many that we saw. Most people ride with a team who carry their gear from stop to stop in a bus. Most of the buses are old school buses with new, neon paint jobs and crazy graphics! We saw Team Dirt, Team Moore-on, Team Cow, Team Flammingo,'s quite creative. We also saw Lance's foundation's gear bus (pictured above), but trust me that he is not camping out in a tent everynight! He has a big plush bus that puts all the rest to shame!

Anyway, Travis decided to participate in one day of the ride this year, just to see what it was all about. Travis first heard about this ride when he married me (aka-when his life took a dramatic turn for the better!) Of course 60 miles seemed like no big deal to him, so on Friday morning, we drove him to Independence, Iowa to jump in with everybody. He started at 7:45 am and arrived in the last town at 1:00pm, 64 miles later! He made it with a sore butt to boot, but he loved it. He arrived in Dyersville, Iowa (home of The official Field of Dreams) and he got to know some of the other riders around him. I have to say, even though I come from a golf family, not a bike family, I did enjoy the RAGBRAI hype and I think we'll plan to do it again next year. Travis seems to think I'm going to ride with him, but we'll see about that! 64 miles a day doesn't seem like too much fun to me!! Check out the official RAGBRAI website so you can join us next year!!

A Welcome Home from All the Boys...and Me!

The morning that Travis came home from Montana, I was working. So, I took all three boys to our house to welcome Travis home and to see Ryley before we had to leave for swimming lessons! I didn't want to wait a minute longer to see my man!! Plus, the boys adore him and they love to play with Ryley, so although I only got 10 minutes with my traveling husband, it was worth it!

My Hallway Project

I know I mentioned while Travis was gone, that I tackled painting our hallway, so I thought I would show you some pictures of the completed job! I painted it blue and chocolate brown...we have that brown in our kitchen and that blue in our main bathroom...which I really love. Our hallway was an ugly, pale celery color before...this looks so much better reminds me of this great IKEA commercial I just saw about color in America. The tagline was "Be Brave. Not Beige" I loved it! The right color makes everything better!! A little free interior design advice for all of my many readers...that is a joke...hopefully the three of you like it! P.S. Isn't my rug cute?? You gotta love Target!


Catching up again...

It's amazing how vacation messes with your "routine" isn't it? It's so great to be gone and to rest, but it's such a bummer to come back and actually do something. I really think I'm cut out for the retired life! I love to sleep in, take a nap, and go to bed early...all the while drinking coffee and eating whatever I feel like! What a dream life that is...maybe there will be some of that in Heaven someday?? I suppose my theology might be a little off in that statement, but it sounds nice doesn't it?

Anyway, there is so much to catch you up on. I don't have my pictures loaded on the computer yet, so they will have to come later, but I have lots of pictures from our vacation to show you. We had a really nice time, celebrating our anniversary and seeing friends and family. We're glad to be home and we both feel rested and rejuvenated. We only have one week at home though and then we leave for Junior High Summer Camp on never lasts long in our world!

On a good note, we finally hired a senior high Pastor!!! We actually know him and his wife, as they have been on staff at my parent's church for the last few years. Small world. We had no idea they were interviewing until one of the final stages, but we are thrilled and we can't wait for them to start. They will be here in a few weeks and start after labor day...praise the Lord! I don't know how much longer we could have gone without some help in student ministries. Travis is so excited and relieved and the students and staff are thrilled as well. So, we're anticipating a great school year! I don't know what it will be like to only worry about junior high??

I have to go and catch up on some bills before the week starts...I hate that, but I've put it off long enough! I'll get some pictures up here soon.