7.25.2014

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough…

For vacation this year, Trent and I planned a little trip to Colorado.  My 30 before 30 list included hiking a mountain and Trent said that the Rocky Mountains are the only mountains that count.  With that as our main goal, we also planned to knock a few others out while we were there (i.e. camping and fishing)

We headed out Monday morning so we could make the drive to Leadville, Colorado in the mountains.  The plan was to camp, which I was less than excited about, but again, it was on my 30 before 30.  We set up camp at Turquoise Lake, with our site backing up to a mountain stream.  It was a fun campsite with mountains all around, a beautiful lake and state of the art mother nature all around.

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This is my “I’m happy to be camping, but it’s a little chilly” face…

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Trent is a real trouper camping (actually, maybe I am the trouper), but either way since he is the camping enthusiast in the marriage, I basically let him do it all…the cooking, the tent set up, the clean up.  If I help too much I’m afraid we will have to camp more regularly!   He is happy when he is one with nature.

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Our campsite…nothing but us and God’s creation.

The first two days were spent fishing and exploring the area around Leadville.  There were lots of scenic spots to check out.

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My first fishing license…I have yet to catch my first fish, but there’s always next time, right?

Camping was fun.  We were roughing it.  While camping I learned that a vaulted toilet is a fancy name for an outhouse…don’t be fooled.  For 2 nights I was good.  More than 2 nights and I would have complained more than I already did. :)

After two  nights of camping we headed to Frisco to stay at the Holiday Inn.  I was excited for a shower and nice warm bed.  Then, on Thursday we ventured out and took the scenic route to Aspen to explore.  It was fun being able to stop off where we wanted along the way and explore or hike a little.

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Independence Pass – the high point on the highway.  Elevation 12,096 feet…

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It gets a little chilly when you are way up there…

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There really were a lot of Aspens near Aspen…I like big aspens and I cannot lie!

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Friday was the big day…we set out bright and early to hike Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado and the second highest peak in the lower 48.  It was a perfect day for hiking as it was warm and sunny with a light breeze. 

Quite honestly, when I told Trent I wanted to hike a mountain, in my head I was picturing hiking in the mountains like we had done before.  I never expected to climb to the summit of the highest mountain in Colorado, but I guess the Laune family motto could be, “Go big or go home.”  We went big.  And I think that we would both agree that it was way harder than we expected.  First, starting out, I was pretty sure that I was going to die.  We were constantly going up, up, up (I know, what did I expect, it’s a mountain).  However, once we got above the tree line I started feeling a little better.  There were frequent breaks, but we were making progress slowly, but surely.  At one point I really felt like we were getting close.  There was a lady coming down the mountain so I decided to ask her if we were getting close.  To my surprise, she laughed at my question.  I think that was my answer.  The she went on to explain that what I could see was actually a false summit.  Once we reached the top of that, there was another steep climb to the top.  I think I can, I think I can.  We got up and continued on our way.  At no point did I want to quit or turn around, but I definitely just wanted to be at the top.  As we climbed the false summit it was so steep that I literally had to bear crawl so I would not tumble over backwards.  At one point we were stopping about every 10 to 15 feet for a break because it was that exhausting.  However, finally, we made it to the top!

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All the hard work was worth it.  It seemed like you could see forever from the top…

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The view from the top…

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Mount Elbert…Elevation 14,433

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I came.  I saw.  I conquered…

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So did Trent…

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The journey down was a breath of fresh air compared to going up.  Going up, there was literally no air!

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Back down at the bottom after a 7 hour round trip hike.  As you can see from the dark clouds,  a storm moved through when we were on our way down.  It was actually sleeting on us as we were still at pretty high altitude.  Then came the thunder and lightning.  The only time I almost cried on the hike was when simultaneously thunder rumbled as I stubbed my toe on a rock.  I think it would have been justified, but Trent agreed that I recovered quickly.  We did see one good strike of lightning down below us and heard from other hikers that they felt their hair stand up.  Thank goodness no one was hurt.  You can’t mess with Mother Nature.

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Mount Elbert in the distance…

By the time we got back to the hotel Trent was already planning our next trip to Colorado and which 14’er we would hike next.  At that point I was telling him that he would be doing it solo, however, I am starting to warm up to the idea of another hike.  Next time I will train with hills and heavy incline on the treadmill.

…Round Trip Statistics…

License plate game: 40 States

Miles: 3,000

States Visited: 5

Pairs of Sunglasses I went through: 3

30 Before 30’s Completed: 6

All in all it was a fun and memorable trip. 

Summer is fun.  Summer is busy.  Summer is my favorite.

{The Launes}

7.15.2014

Number 20: Attend a Live Music Event…

I am slowly, but surely checking things off of my 30 Before 30 list.  The past week I feel like I’ve actually hit the 30 before 30 jackpot as I am beginning to check things off left and right.  After leaving the family reunion in Okoboji a day early I headed to Omaha to meet up with Jamie to check number  20 off the list: attend a live music event.

We bought tickets awhile back to see Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson in concert at Stir Concert Cove in Council Bluffs.  

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Gavin is my favorite.  If you haven’t checked him out, you should…you won’t regret it!

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Sister dates are fun!

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Brian was suppose to come along too, but was sick so Sarah filled his shoes… 

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After the show I got one of the official set lists.  After just dejunking a lot over the past few weeks, I decided to snap a picture with it and pass it on to someone else :)  Digital is much better in my book these days.

This was my third time seeing Gavin in concert and as usual, he didn’t disappoint!  All three times have been smaller venues, which makes the experience that much better.  We were pretty darn close to front row and it was awesome!   There is something about live music.  Outside.  In the summer.  That is just plain magical.

{The Launes}

Family, Food and Freedom…

July started out with a bang {pun intended} and hasn’t slowed down yet.   On July 2nd we loaded up the Escape and headed to lake Okoboji for the first of many miles that we were about to travel.  We got to spend the 4th on the lake and take part in the first official Laune family reunion.  19 of us (little ones included) made the trip to Trent’s aunt and uncle’s place for some good old fashioned family bonding. 

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Everyone loves a boat ride…

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Ellie didn’t last too long on our boat ride.  She snuggled right up to me and was out in no time!

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Nothing says America more than a little patriotic outfit…It wasn’t the warmest 4th of July, but sacrifices were made to sport shorts and a tank top.

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Preparing the all American 4th of July dinner with burgers and corn on the cob…

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A storm rolled in just before fireworks were set to start.  Probably the best way to watch fireworks is with lighting all around.  I joked that it was God’s way of saying, “Fireworks, shmireworks.  Look what I can do!”

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This little firecracker had all sorts of fun over the weekend…

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Kooper enjoyed her first 4th of July and also sported her own patriotic outfit…

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All the nieces and nephew on the Laune side enjoying their time together.

I am so thankful for freedom and everything that comes with it.  Because of it we were able to enjoy a nice 4th of July weekend.  Let’s face it…We ate, we swam, we ate, we relaxed, we ate, we caught up, we ate, we had fun!  Did I mention that we ate?  Oh, and for all those skeptics out there…family reunions can be fun!   

{The Launes}

 

6.16.2014

6.9.14: Until Next Time…

Today was our final day in Sierra Leone.  Other than a slightly rough start of not feeling well, the trip could not have been more perfect.

This morning we had our farewell ceremony.  The kids and staff again sang for us.  We were able to give some care packages to all of the staff as well, which they really seemed to appreciate.  After the farewell ceremony we got to hang out a little bit longer before saying our final goodbyes and leaving for the boat and airport.

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Telling Daniel goodbye and sharing some treats…

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Little Hawa was all smiles on our last morning…

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Sharing care packages with the caregivers…

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Before we left for Africa I was curious of how this trip would be different than the last.  I think I expected a mostly similar experience, but I really don’t think it could have been more different.  I am so thankful for all of the opportunities we had while we were here.  God continues to be present and working in this city.

The Raining Season is a city on the hill that is transforming lives each and every day.  This city continues to be more than the trash on the ground and the poverty that exists.  These children represent true beauty in the every day moments of life.

The song Kings and Queens by Audio Adrenaline is not about Sierra Leone, but it is about orphans.  God wraps these little orphans in his majesty and they can become kings and queens.  These little children that have been forgotten on Earth are going to have a special place in heaven one day because of what they've been through here.

Little hands, shoeless feet, lonely eyes looking back at me
Will we leave behind the innocent too brief
On their own, on the run when their lives have only begun
These could be our daughters and our sons
And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating
I know my God won’t let them be defeated
Every child has a dream to belong and be loved
[Chorus:]
Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout your name in victory
When we love when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these

I have enjoyed sharing our experiences in Sierra Leone, but it is important to mention that I could not even begin to capture all of the little moments in our days.  There were so many small stories that have come up in conversation since we’ve been back.  Quite honestly, I think the little moments are the ones that have been most impactful on my heart. 

Until next time, Africa…

{The Launes}