Our month in Cali is over and we are headed to the Grand Canyon! We are so excited to see the Grand Canyon and the grand-parental units that will be visiting!!!
I must admit I am NOT excited to leave summer-type weather and go back to winter. <Insert whining and crying>. But as the Lord would have it, just this week I read an Elisabeth Elliot excerpt that encouraged me to focus on NOT complaining or whining at all about anything for 14 days. So I take it back. <Remove whining and crying>
Something funny about when we leave a place…. when we are out of the “driveway” I naturally have this feeling of “oh no did I forget something? What did I leave behind?” …… and then I chuckle because as long as nothing is sitting on the picnic table, it’s all with us somewhere :).
Desert Hot Springs was so great for us. We met some wonderful people, made great progress in taking care of our physical selves, used our AC for the first time, went on our first 16-lanes-across highway (yes 16! 8 each direction), saw the Lord help us grow in love more and more, and really enjoyed lots of God’s creation!
Our final week in Cali started with E’s 9th Bday. It really is hard to believe she is 9. I was pretty weepy on her bday. I’m so grateful they are growing strong and healthy and we can celebrate another year — but the time really is flying. I pray to do my best for the Lord, for them. I want so much to be the best Mommy I can be, a wonderful example for them, and most importantly keep them near the Lord’s heart. I trust He will continue to work through such a flawed tool.
E is truly just THE sweetest child. What a tender and beautiful heart she has. I tear up just thinking of her. Here are the last pics of her at age 8 and first pic at age 9:
We thank you again for all the love you showed her from afar with cards and packages, texts and calls.
And you all even went above and beyond and showed love to RR and AB too. Thank you!!! 🙂
E had a huge bday weekend in San Diego – but on her actual Bday (Monday) we went to a park…
…then enjoyed the day at Sam’s (our RV park)!
After dinner, we were blessed to sing Happy Birthday, have cake, and have an outdoor movie night with our neighbor friends!
The rest of the week we did our usual routine around the RV park and we tried our best to meet my cousin Jessica who lives about 2 hours away. Sadly, the traffic was so terrible we never could catch up with her.
Later in the week, I took the kids to the Living Desert for a field trip.
The animals at this zoo seemed so spunky and energetic.
Watching the baby giraffe chase the ostriches was just too hilarious. When the ostriches run it looks like their top isn’t attached to their bottom correctly or something haha. E caught a video of some of it:
God’s diversity is just so AMAZING!
I can’t look at a wart hog without feeling the need to step out of his way and call him MR. Wart Hog . They look like a high school principal to me….. but they also look like 80s rock stars. So maybe it’s a high school principal from the 80s 🙂
When this camel shook his head to get off flies – RR and I got the giggles so bad. The camel’s lips looked like pancakes flopping every which way!
Doesn’t looking at God’s creation just make you smile!?
From the zebra (we now believe they are definitely white with black stripes – look at his white bottom).
To the African wild dog who looks like he is a mix of every color a dog could be:
The hilarious meerkats:
Eurasian black vulture with a 9 foot wing span:
Remember Finnick from zootopia? He was a fennec fox like this guy:
Mommy and baby big horned sheep… awwwwww:
The intense leopard:
Our nation’s bird:
The high jumping (they can go straight up 12 feet) caracal:
The chacoan peccary. Native to northern South America, experts thought they were extinct but they were found again in 1975. They are similar to the cactus-eating javenilas we heard about in Texas!
The Scimitar-horned oryx. Don’t they look like Disney villains? They must have inspired Maleficent. Gorgeous but evil? They get their names from their elegant horns that look like a scimitar sword. They are extinct in the wild… but we hear they are trying to start programs to introduce them into the wild:
Even though we struggle with zoos in general – as we all know we want the animals in the wild not caged up – we have really been impressed with the zoos we have visited so far on this trip. And I know the visits stir up an even greater depth of love and appreciation for God’s creation. I’m grateful they are breeding many of these animals that are in danger of extinction.
This zoo also had the hugest model train display I’ve seen!
I think RR could have spent hours just at the train exhibit.
The rest of the week we soaked up the warm sun, enjoyed the pool and hot tubs:
had lots of laughs:
played with our neighbor friends:
enjoyed some last Cali treats:
(We originally found Panda Express in Texas and since then it’s unreal how accurately the kids’ Panda Express radar is. We can’t get away from it haha).
We took some last looks at the amazing views around us:
Sorry about the bug guts:
(Look at the Clouds spilling over the top of the mountains… and then the sand blowing up everywhere down below. I haven’t mentioned the wind much… but wow it’s windy here! A majority of the days it was 20 + mph wind. I’m sure it’s very welcome in the summer heat. Palm Springs is protected by the mountain but Desert Hot Springs, where we stayed, must be right in between the mountains. There may or may not have been an incident where a piece of underwear took off like a kite in the RV park and needed to be chased down…. but if an incident like that DID happen it really needs to be shared in person to get the full picture.)
And to end our week, we enjoyed our last Cali sunset:
Here’s the view from inside:
Cactus and palm tree:
Hopefully someday we will go back to Cali Cali 🙂
Love you all!!!