Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lake of the Ozarks Vacation

Last weekend we headed south to the Ozarks with my family. This was the first time we've been on a family vacation together in many years! We had a great time and the kids loved it! Highlights were the waterpark, go-karts and visiting a cave. If your looking for a fun place to go with an easy drive I would recommend Lake of the Ozarks!

There is NO sleeping in on vacation with this little princess! Allison was up bright and early every day, and here she is ready for dad to get up and start the day!

Grandma picked up these water toys before the trip. They were very tipsy in the water but perfect for hallway racing in the hotel. :)

Day two was spent at the water park. The kids loved it!

I liked this park because it wasn't to big, yet it had different area's for different kids age groups. Here's Ethan in the bigger kids area crossing the lily pads.

Ready or not here I come, Auntie Ang!

Allison did great and even hung out with other people besides me. 

Being a true Dutchmen we figured out it would be cheaper to do a group birthday party, at the water-park. Since Amelia turned 7 that week it worked out perfect!

They even put her name on the sign. She felt very special. :) 

The fun didn't end that day, after the water park was go-karts. Everyone enjoyed this, except Anton. He thought the ride was a little rough, or maybe Grandma is a scary driver. :) I think Ang ended up winning, but that depends on who you ask. 

Family picture at the Go Kart track. 

To much fun for one day says Anton!

The great debate was whether to rent a boat or take a boat tour. We opted for the tour since we had several little ones. It was a slow ride and the kids were bored. I thought it was fine, because I enjoy looking at houses. But if I had to do it over I would pass on the tour and rent a boat and just go out before the big boats start making waves. 

Aw, what a nice bunch. :)

Tan-tar-a the place we stayed at has a few pools this one has a water slide and we put it to good use!

Elijah all geared up in his protective swimming attire. 

Anton wouldn't have anything to do with Uncle Alex at the beginning of the trip but it didn't take long and they were best buds. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

California Trip

Mark, Allison and I headed to San Diego, CA last week for a Farm Bureau Trip. We had a great time, wonderful weather and lots of very nice people to travel with!  We had hoped to take all the kids or at least the older ones along, but it was going to cost to much, so we left the four older ones with Grandparents and took Allison. She was a great little traveler, and made friends from Iowa to California by smiling and cooing  at EVERYONE! :) Here are just a few of the pictures I took.

 Three tour buses full of Iowa farmers got to visit a variety of Southern California farms on Friday. The first stop was this 138 acre farm. They grew avocados, which are the trees growing up the hill. Grapes growing out of the blue tubes and organic lemons, where in the weeds on right side of the picture. They also had oranges, grapefruit and clementines. These poor farmers have so many regulations to deal with it almost didn't seem worth farming because of all the "stuff" they have to deal with. Mainly the government regulations  but also people stealing their crops at night.

This is a nursery we drove by on the way to another farm. I think these are shrubs, the picture doesn't do justice to how big and steep this hill full of plants really is. 

Our second stop was a mushroom farm. This process is quite a science! They too have tons of regulations, inspections and it's hard for them to find employees because of the hard work that is involved. Notice the plastic around machines and on the roof. It's coated in oil and used to catch a tiny mushroom fly. They aren't considered organic, but it didn't seem like they had to spray for bugs much at all. 

They have six harvests a year. The big ones are ready to go, and the little white ones will be ready soon. We all got a sample if we wanted!

A tropical plant nursery was our last stop. They grew plants like this for stores like Home Depot and other large retailers. It to was quite a process to keep everything healthy and looking good. They have had harder times in the last few years with the economy.

Mark was in charge of Allison at the greenhouse, when I met up with him, this is what he gave Allison for a chew toy.

Saturday we visited a naval ship. This tour confirmed that I wouldn't survive being in any branch of the military! Here we are in front of a plane that on display. 

I thought we could use bunk beds like this at our house! :) 

The Brig at the bottom of the ship. It was a little hot in some area's and I actually felt a little claustrophobic at times. Again, I would never survive the navy.

Mark enjoyed looking at all the airplane controls and thought it would be fun to learn how to fly.

Our transportation for the afternoon! I'm sure any motorcycle Mark saw cruising the streets, he would have gladly traded this snazzy ride for. :) 

Mark looking super cool. :)

One thing I wanted to do was go to the ocean again. It was way to cold for me to swim in, but nice enough to walk along the shore. 

Allison's first dip in the ocean.  

She's the only one of our kids to make it to an ocean so far!

Sunday we had free time until noon so Mark and I decided to go to a church I found online. It's called The Rock and it's sanctuary held 3,500 people! When we walked in we were greeted and had our bags searched before going into the sanctuary. They had breakfast for sale and a huge bookstore to shop in. The service started with very loud music and reminded me of the Conventions I went to as a teenager. This was very different from our Sunday worship, but I enjoyed it!