Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nashville, TN and St. Louis, MO

We said Goodbye to Cousin Tucker last week, and Thom took him to the Nashville airport where he flew home to NY. Our week together with Tucker was wonderful. He helped with chores whenever asked, and had a great time playing with his cousins. These are memories the boys will all cherish, and although we’ve never lived close by, they have a very close bond. We hope they’ll grow up keeping in touch and being good friends as Thom is with his cousins. Thanks Tucker for being a roadie with us for a week!

From Nashville, we headed northwest to Ft. Campbell, KY where we camped for 3 nights. It was a quiet, picturesque place along a rivulet that had swelled from recent rains. The rapid current carried lots of dirt, and went over 3 waterfalls nearby. Across the water hung a suspension bridge, where the Besch Boys loved to jump up and down. Within walking distance was the skeet range. Thom took the boys over on two occasions for shooting practice. They haven’t done this since our days at Ft. Greely. Robby and Will loved it, shooting many clay pigeons. Ben and Sam tried, and Sam shot down one clay pigeon! I’m impressed, since I have a hard enough time hitting a stationary target. Our time spent shooting at the Gargulinski’s range has the boys motivated again to improve their gun skills.

We made three solid days’ worth of progress in school. Robby and Will each have a challenging research project to complete, spanning 30 lessons (about 1.5 months). Robby chose the topic of Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV’s), while Will is learning all about Australia’s Kangaroos. The Calvert curriculum does a tremendous job teaching about research, note taking, bibliographies, formal outlines, rough drafts, and the final paper. Ben also has written many compositions for school, which require the outline, rough draft, and final. Their writing skills have improved remarkably this year! Sam’s now starting his 2nd grade curriculum and doing very well.

We departed KY, and drove through Illinois to St. Louis, MO to visit our friends, the Piatak’s. John and Thom went to West Point together. Our boys now say, “Dad has so many friends from college!” There truly is a special bond between alumni from that traditional military academy. Thom says they’re all friends for life because they shared such a difficult and challenging four years together.

John and Robin lived in Austin, TX for many years, which is where we last visited 4 years ago. They have four beautiful daughters to include Mary (14), Catherine (13), Nicole (11), and Kelly (9). They moved to St. Louis almost 2 years ago, and have a lovely home. All the kids are having a great time hanging out. Will got a “wave” for his birthday last week, which is similar to the rip stick they learned to skate on a few weeks back at the skate park in FL. The girls hadn’t tried it before, but our boys gave them lessons. Catherine and Nicole picked it up right away, while Sam or Ben zipped around them on a scooter. The favorite room inside is the basement rec room, complete with big screen TV, games, computers, ping pong and air hockey! The boys have spent 2 nights down there, and I know won’t want to leave tomorrow.

Yesterday, we had a perfect day in St. Louis with John, Mary, Catherine, and Nicole. We visited the world-famous Gateway Arch. First we toured the museum and watched a fascinating movie about how the arch was constructed back in the 1960’s. Amazing! It’s built out of huge, steel triangles stacked on each other. Each leg was built independently, and then joined at the top with one final triangle only a few feet in width. Then they built an elevator to go to the top on each side of the arch.

Yep, we rode to the top! There are 9 connected cars which make up an elevator. The cars are attached but shift position as they go up and across. Only 5 people can fit in each car. Then you get out of the car, climb the last steps to the top and look out through small windows at the incredible view from 660 feet up! There was a Cardinals baseball game going on at the Busche Stadium, and we could see the buildings, Mississippi River, river boats, and tiny people.
From there, John took us to “The Hill” which is like the Little Italy of St. Louis. We had dinner at the well-known Cunneto's where we indulged in huge plates of pasta. After that we visited the City Museum. The boys now call it their favorite museum because it’s so much fun.

It’s an indoor-outdoor 7-story play area with slides, airplanes, a giant pencil, caves, ball pit, and funky places like Beatnik Bob’s where the kids played old pinball games and drank soda. It opened in 1998 and is called a museum because it’s chock full of antiques and old steel and cables which have been welded and sautered together. We didn’t leave until close to 11pm!
Today Robin and Kelly returned from a 2-day soccer tournament, and the kids are playing kickball, football, washing cars, and having a blast. I’ve enjoyed talking with Robin about schools, moving, home projects, and job changes. Seeing their home once again gives me great ideas about our future home. I especially love her kitchen!

John recently changed jobs, and loves his new position at Labarge. His advice to Thom is invaluable as they discuss Thom’s ongoing job search. We’re on our way to Chicago, where next week Thom will attend the annual wind convention hosted by AWEA (American Wind Energy Assoc).

Thom has always been interested in renewable energy, and would love to work in this promising field. Our country, as well as the rest of the world must find other ways to meet our energy needs than simply using fossil fuels and coal (dirty fuels, per Thomas Friedman). Over 15,000 participants are expected at the convention, and Thom’s eager to visit with exhibitors and listen to speakers. They’re coming from all around the world. We’re praying that he’ll have the opportunity to interview soon with NREL (Natl. Renewable Energy Laboratory) in Golden, CO. Jim Galvin, a friend who’s soon retiring from the Army, has long been interested in wind energy. He had the chance to interview with NREL recently, and was offered a job last week! Jim recommended Thom to NREL, so keep us in your prayers. All six of us love the idea of living in the foothills of the Rockies, just west of Denver.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Huntsville, Alabama and Nashville, TN

April 19, 2009
The last four days have been like old home week! We had the good fortune to visit so many people in Huntsville. They each travel so often that we were lucky to find them all in town. Bill, Penny, and Megan Lamb had us over for dinner on our first night in Huntsville. What a lovely home, and the boys enjoyed their huge back yard where they played tag for the first hour. We saw Bill in Alaska, but the four of us haven’t been together since our days in Austin, TX when Thom and Bill attended UT together. We had a good time catching up and getting to know Megan who is a senior in high school. The boys ate burgers, brownies, and watched King Kong….heaven for Besch Boys!

The next day we headed for Space Camp. Robby was our tour guide, since he attended a week-long class there back when he was 10. Tucker and his cousins loved the museum, the rocket garden, the space shot ride, watching the artist spray paint cool planetary art, and shopping at the gift shop. The new Davidson Building which houses Saturn V was awesome! We watched an exhilarating IMAX movie called Magnificent Desolation narrated by Tom Hanks which showed what it’s like to walk on the moon. John Fellows stopped in for a visit while we had lunch, and Thom and I enjoyed talking with him.

That evening, we were delighted to host dinner for Jack Clouse, Lin Beckem, and Ronda Raiford, who we know from our Alaska days in Missile Defense. Thom especially was interested in how people are doing, after 10 months of being away from work. We enjoyed hearing about Ronda’s family, with Gene coming soon to join her in Alabama. Her two infant grandsons, Leo and Tyler are now home from the hospital – yahoo! Leo’s birth weight was only about 1 ½ lbs and his twin Tyler weighed in at a miniscule 13 oz!! God is watching over them.

Another exciting day followed when Scott and Faye Campbell invited us to join them at their cabin on Lake Smith, about 1 ½ hours south of Huntsville. Before we departed Huntsville, we got a chance to see their beautiful home and Japanese tea garden. Faye especially has worked hard on a complete kitchen remodel. (What a great collection of ideas I have for our next home from all these visits!). As we drove to the lake, we noticed the dogwood trees in full bloom and just how green everything is here in April. I had to call Tina Jenkins in Alaska to find out where she grew up in Alabama, which turned out to be about 100 miles northwest. It’s just so gorgeous here. Faye stopped to buy freshly picked strawberries at a roadside fruit stand, and soon after we stopped to walk across Alabama’s longest covered bridge. We picked up Alabama BBQ (pulled pork) and headed for the cabin.

What a peaceful place it is sitting on their porch overlooking Smith Lake! The limestone rocks are a natural platform to dive into the deep lake, which is a reservoir. All five boys, including cousin Tucker were soon swimming in the chilly water. After a tasty lunch of BBQ and fresh strawberries, Scott and Faye treated us to a boat ride down the lake. I couldn’t believe all the enormous, expensive homes, many of which are weekend getaway homes! Their daughter, Shana was married in a beautiful mansion overlooking the lake last July, which they pointed out to us. We stopped at the marina where the boys fed crackers to the mammoth carp…about 3 feet in length! There must have been 10 fish with huge mouths, and the boys were able to pet their slow moving bodies. Will water-skied on a slalom ski, which was a great way to end the boat ride. On the way home, Faye showed us an old civil war jail which was tiny yet held as many as 100 prisoners. She told us that this Alabama county actually seceded from the Confederacy to be part of the Union during the Civil War! Although Faye is a retired elementary school teacher, she still enjoys educating children at every opportunity.

Thom joined Bill Lamb and about 10 others for breakfast on Saturday morning, while I went to a local laundromat to do 6 loads of laundry! It adds up quickly when you have 5 boys who love to play in the mud! Soon after we returned to the RV, General and Mrs. Campbell bicycled over to visit us! They came to Ft. Greely together a couple years back, and we very much enjoyed our time with them. General Campbell played quite a bit of hockey growing up in Massachusetts, so he came over and skated on the Besch hockey rink behind our home at Ft. Greely. The boys still talk about playing hockey with him! Kathy told us to let them know if we were coming to Huntsville, and we’re glad we did! They toured our “home on wheels” and every minute spent in conversation was a delight.

Another terrific visit was with the Armstrong Family. Scott Armstrong and Thom worked together in Alaska, but this was our first complete family visit (except for the oldest son, Taylor). Scott and Donna invited us a small lake right on Redstone Arsenal. We had the place to ourselves since the main road was blocked by fallen trees from a recent storm, and the alternate route had one deadly mud bog. We gunned it, sprayed the SUV with mud, and didn’t get stuck! Our car no longer has 4-wheel drive, since Thom altered it in order to be towed behind the motor coach.

Scott, Donna, Trevor, and Robert are true outdoorsmen and throw a great BBQ, complete with grill, table, and delicious food. The kids headed for the lake with two inflatable boats and fishing poles. Nobody caught a thing except minnows, but we all enjoyed a nice afternoon listening to bull frogs and cicadas (loud, chirping insects). Their dog, Rygel kept the boys entertained as he played fetch for hours. Our boys can’t wait to have a dog.

Today was our last day in the Huntsville area. On our way north, we visited Patty and Tom Gargulinski along with their sons Chris and Tony. Thom worked for Patty in missile defense, and she visited many times over the years at Ft. Greely. It was our first time seeing their home on 40 awesome acres. This is what our boys would love. They have two ponds for fishing and swimming, and although the weather was lugubrious and rainy, Sam and Ben swung off the rope swing into the water! The highlight was when all seven boys had their air soft pistols firing away on their target range. Will was thrilled to shoot his 22 at the ten steel plate targets from about 40 yards. Even when the rain poured, he refused to come in or even put on a coat! It was really great to see Patty and get to know her family.

We finished the day by driving north to Nashville, where Tucker will fly home tomorrow morning to New York. Since Will’s birthday is April 21, we decided to celebrate it today before Tucker leaves. He’s become a huge fan of western writer Will Johnstone, so we headed to the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville. The place is huge with 3 floors all focused on the stage and dance floor. We arrived just in time for a dance lesson, and I was really pleased that all the boys were brave and came out on the dance floor. A dance instructor taught us to line dance with all the steps, kicks, turns, claps, heel-ins, and heel-outs. I’m sure most people were wondering why these five young men were in a saloon on a school night at 8:30! We had a ball. Then a band played for an hour while the boys shot pool. I enjoyed watching the dancing, which included couples doing the 2-step as well as more line dancing. Thom and I even kicked up our heels a bit more.

We returned to the motor coach where Will blew out the candles to his home made cake (yes, everything is possible in this RV!). Did I mention that we camped out in Sam’s Club’s parking lot? We wanted Tucker to have the full Besch RV experience!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee

April 15, 2009
Now we’re back to chilly weather where we wake up to 48 deg weather in the morning. Time to put away the shorts, and get out the long pants and sweatshirts! How strange when we were melting a week and a half ago in the Keys.

Cousin Tucker flew in from New York two days ago, and is spending his week-long spring break with us! Tucker is 10, and fits in with our boys like peas in a pod. We picked him up in Nashville, in the middle of a spectacular lightening storm. It was his first time flying solo, but he didn’t seem bothered by the storm nor fears of being alone. Robby, Will, Ben and Sam were excited to meet him at the airport, and have been playing with Tucker nonstop.

So now there are 7 Besches living in the motor coach! We try to wear the kids out during the day so they go right to sleep at bedtime. Yesterday we drove to Chattanooga where we explored Look Out Mountain. In 1863, Confederate soldiers tried to cut supplies to the Union soldiers in this Tennessee city. The Confederate generals watched from the towering Look Out Mtn. Union General Hooker was ordered to take the mountain, which was quite a mission. Union soldiers climbed the steep mountain while being shot at from above. In the end, the Confederates retreated and the Union took the mountain.

So Thom and the boys hiked up 1.5 miles to reach Point Park, while I drove! What an incredible view we experienced from the top, overlooking the winding Tennessee River through Chattanooga. Tucker’s never been to TN, so this Civil War introduction was educational. On our way down, we spotted a daring hang glider braving the strong winds up in the clouds. We then walked the streets of Chattanooga and had a yummy dinner of 6 different flavors of wings.

Today we headed south, and it was Tucker’s first time driving in our rig. At one point, we had 5 Besch boys in the back bedroom reading or playing their gameboys and DS’s. It was kind of amusing. I enjoyed sitting up in the Queen’s Throne, reading undisturbed. For the past few months, I usually worked with one of the boys on school while Thom drove.

Now we’re in Huntsville, AL to see many friends from Thom’s missile defense days. This is the headquarters. Also, Robby attended Space Camp here 3 years ago, so we hope to visit there as well.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Madison, FL

Happy Easter! We’ve spent the past 3 days at a terrific campground in northern Florida. It reminds us of last summer when we camped because there are loads of families and kids. Everyone’s on spring break. Our boys have made friends while swimming, playing kickball, shooting pool, and especially at the small skateboard park. The latest thing seems to be the skateboards that wiggle, called ripsticks and waves. Will, Ben, and Sam have caught on pretty quickly. For the last six months at campgrounds, most of our neighbors have been retirees. Kids have been in school, so the boys haven’t had friends to play with.

We’ve been busy at school, with Robby, Will, and Ben taking their green tests #120. Sam finished First Grade today by completing his green test #160! When we were in MD, we visited Calvert and met the staff. At that time, we knew Sam was progressing quickly, so we purchased the 2nd Grade curriculum. Now he’ll start 2nd grade, and we’ll see how far he gets. Once school starts in the fall, he’ll register as a 2nd grader.

Tomorrow morning we’ll attend an early morning church service right here at the campground. We’ll celebrate Jesus’ resurrection in the beautiful outdoors overlooking the lake and peaceful campground. Then we’ll depart Florida, drive through Georgia, and end up near Huntsville, AL. Cousin Tucker flies in to spend his spring break with us on Monday. The boys have worked hard to finish their tests before Tucker’s arrival. We’re all ready for a spring break!

We left Key West over a week ago, as the temps headed into the mid-90’s with high humidity. It was sad to leave after so many beautiful sunsets, great snorkeling, and walks down Duval Street to Mallory Square. Before we left, we visited Ernest Hemmingway’s home with all the cats. He lived an interesting life, having been married 4 times and earning the reputation as one of our country’s greatest short story novelists. We bought Old Man and the Sea, which three of us have since read. Sam painted a coconut to resemble one of the colorful local fish, which is a popular thing to do here. On our way out, we bought a conch shell which is quite loud when the boys give it a blast.

We stopped for a memorable barbeque dinner at Pascal and Judy’s house in Miami. They were nice enough to let us camp out front for the night, after the kids swam all evening. Lea and Luc shared all their toys once again. We headed out the next morning in the direction of the Everglades. Sure enough, driving along we spotted many alligators on the canal next to the road. Thom picked out a cool stop, where we all went for an airboat ride through the Everglades. We spotted a few alligators, plentiful birds, and turtles. Then our tour guide sped along the shallow water for an ultra-smooth ride. It’s strange going right over the grass and mud without getting stuck.
Next we sat in for an alligator show. The host asked for a volunteer, and although Thom raised his hand, the man instead picked me. The host had me going. He told me very seriously to pay attention as he demonstrated how to place a hand in an alligator’s open mouth. The gator was 7 years old, and about 10 ft long! He then demonstrated how to jump on this alligator’s back from behind, pull up the gator’s mouth to your chest, and hold the alligator’s head with your chin! Yes, he told me I had to do all those things! Then of course he brought out a much smaller alligator named Larry. Larry was much smaller, at only about 4 ft. So I got to hold Larry, and his mouth strap was even removed for about 30 seconds! I didn’t take my eyes off him. Thom said he knew all along the guy was pulling my leg. The boys then each took turns holding Larry. Another adventure!

We spent a day in Brandon, just east of Tampa, checking out schools and neighborhoods. Thom’s had one good job offer here. It’s a nice area, but we’re really hoping to settle down in the northeast, closer to family and the cottage in Canada. We’re keeping all options open at this point.

Jim and Ann Clifford invited us over for a scrumptious dinner. They’re friends from my single days in Southern Calif, who came to visit us at Disney World back in Feb. The boys enjoyed a swim in their pool before we all settled down for chicken, mashed potatoes, wine, and key-lime pie. Mike Landers drove all the way from Orlando to join us for dinner, and he brought us our recent packages/mail. Thanks Mike, Ann and Jim!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dry Tortugas

Camping at Dry Tortugas National Park definitely goes on our “Top 10 List” of adventures this year. It’s the most remote national park, located 70 miles west of Key West on Garden Key. Back in the 1840’s, the US decided to build a state of the art fortress called Fort Jefferson, and it would serve as the watchdog of the area for ships going to and from the Mississippi River. They built it from brick, and I imagine slaves did most of the hard labor. It’s a large, hexagon-shaped structure that’s 3 stories high, and you can spot it from miles away.

Most people sign up for the day trip, which includes a 2 ½ hour boat ride out, breakfast, lunch, 4 hours to explore the site, and then of course the return trip. We found out that camping is available, so we chose to spend the night! Robby and Will, our Boy Scouts, planned the whole trip, including meals, water, tents, snorkel gear, etc. We headed for the boat at 6am with loads of gear, and boarded the Yankee Freedom II, a beautiful catamaran.
On the boat, we read books, explored the upper and lower decks, played Sudoku, talked with other tourists, and studied the fish identification guides. We heard the snorkeling off Dry Tortugas is like swimming in an aquarium.

Ponce de Leon named the key back in the 1500’s when he and his crew discovered turtles everywhere, and hauled them onboard for food and oil. “Turtles” translate to Las Tortugas. “Dry” was later added to the name because the key has no fresh water.

We arrived and set up camp, with the Besch boys taking charge. I stepped back and took pictures while they erected 3 tents. We couldn’t wait to explore. The water color changed from turquoise to teal to navy blue as we looked out to sea. Incredible! The moat surrounding Ft. Jefferson was built to defend against enemies and also against hurricanes. A low exterior wall surrounds the moat, and we decided to start by walking the full perimeter on the wall. Sea life thrives on both sides of the wall, and we saw urchins, colorful fish, small barracuda, sea cucumbers, upside-down jellyfish, and hermit crabs. On the outside of the wall, coral grows well, which brings multitudes of fish and other life with it.

The imposing fort takes up the entire key, except for a very small offshoot which is where we camped. We learned that the fort became a prison, and had terrible living conditions. With ships came rats and yellow fever. Although this was paradise for us to visit, it was lonely and miserable here for the prisoners and soldiers. During the Civil War, they had over 500 people here, which is hard to imagine given that Dry Tortugas has no fresh water. Dr. Mudd was the most famous prisoner, and the boys were fascinated to see his prison cell. He set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Lincoln, after Booth escaped. Dr. Mudd was sent to Dry Tortugas as a prisoner where he lived from 1865-69. During that time, he helped many sick people, especially with the yellow fever epidemic. He was pardoned in 1869 and returned to his family in MD. Due to yellow fever and multiple hurricanes, Ft. Jefferson was abandoned in 1875.

It was used as a coal refueling point around 1900 by our naval ships, because it’s one of the few deep-water channels where big ships can get in. There were 2 areas on the key which used to be the coal storage areas, with huge pilings going down into the water. Now all that’s left are the pilings, with the sun pouring down through them into the water. The coral thrive there, supporting a huge ecosystem and food chain. So we snorkeled with the kids through these two areas, seeing a whole myriad of fish and coral. Unfortunately, Will touched some fire coral and his leg is now really itchy.

On the cat, we met a nice family from FL who has a 10-year old son named Eric. Ben and Eric were like two peas in a pod, going everywhere together. His family stayed overnight as well, although they were inside the fort as a guest of a friend! We had a nice time talking, and Eric’s Mom, Kathy snorkeled with us. She showed us some great coral heads off the sandy beach. Ben and Eric had fun collecting hermit crabs, as did Will and Sam. We discovered a "Chug" which is a Cuban refugee boat. Over the years, many Cubans attempt to cross the 90 miles of water to land on American soil. If they touch foot on soil, we let them stay. If we find them en route by boat, we take them back to Cuba. This photo shows a Chug that probably brought 16 Cubans here!

When the boats left in the afternoon, it was like we had the whole island to ourselves. Including park rangers and other campers, there were only about 40 or 50 people left. We enjoyed a tour inside the fort, hotdogs and a pasta salad dinner, followed by a dazzling sunset.

Then we headed for our tents. Will, Ben, and Sam decided to go out after dark with flashlights in search of lobsters on the moat wall. They spotted a huge spider crab. The boys, including Thom, camp all the time with Boy Scouts and also just for fun. I think the last time I slept in a tent was when Sam was a baby, and we literally got rained out in West Virginia. That must have been about 6 years ago. It was fun, but I sure missed my bed! Thom and I awoke to watch the sunrise, by simply walking a few feet from where we’d just watched the sunset the night before! We walked the moat at 7am, and saw two enormous lobsters. After a quick breakfast with the boys, we all headed out for a morning snorkel. What a great way to start the day. The sky was clear and blue, not cloudy like the day before. The colors underwater were supernatural with the sun flooding down through the blue. Will’s taken to snorkeling the most, and is the last to get out of the water. He studied all types of fish ahead of time, so he could identify the different fish. Sam is a natural snorkel boy too, and is quite courageous. It’s great watching them all dive down to swim with the fish and explore up close. Ben finally got comfortable after being a bit nervous. He said his snorkel and mask didn’t fit well, so he constantly pulled them off, refitting the mask. Robby swims and snorkels well, but once he’s chilly, wants to go in. So usually it’s Thom, Will, and me who continue snorkeling after the others exit the water.

That was the case at Dry Tortugas after our initial morning swim. The three of us walked over to the main boat dock and decided to go in before the boats arrived with the day tourists. Little did we know that the area was off limits for swimming. We’d spotted a huge, mammoth Grouper the evening before. Also, a fisherman caught one which was massive. So in we went. We cautiously snorkeled along the pylons, seeing small groups of fish. Then I heard Thom’s guttural voice through his snorkel. He spotted the Grouper!! And it was colossal!! He was looking up at Thom from about 15 ft down, and slowly moving closer! The three of us kept our wide eyes on him as we slowly swam backwards towards the beach. I’ll bet the Grouper weighed over 500 lbs! When he opened his mouth, I could have fit half my body in there! Once near the beach, he turned and swam away. I got out of the water! Thom and Will swam back and watched from a distance. Wow. Even scuba diving, I’ve never been that close to such a large fish. We talked with the park rangers later, who were surprised we snorkeled there, since it’s off limits. Anyway, they told us about 6 or 7 Grouper live here and get so huge because they’re protected. The one we swam with is nicknamed Otis.

Knowing we were leaving in a few hours, we savored every minute. I took loads of pictures. The boys had fun with Eric, and then we said Goodbye to his Mom and Dad. We boarded the Yankee Freedom II and headed out past Bush Key where thousands of birds were nesting in preparation for their migration north. The sky above the island was a moving, screeching, cloud of birds. Amazing.

The boys enjoyed standing at the bow of the catamaran on the 2 ½ hour boat ride home. They could look down and see the rushing water zoom between the two blades. We visited the bridge and talked with Cpt. Cory. He pointed out the location of the Atocha, the sunken Spanish treasure ship I talked about in an earlier blog. The ship carried $400 million of silver, gold, and emeralds, as well as thousands of artifacts. It sank in 1622, and was finally discovered in 1985 after years of searching. They’re still diving the site bringing up new treasures regularly. We saw some turtles on the surface, and before we knew it, we were back in Key West, just in time for another striking sunset.

We’ll stay a few more days in Key West, and then head north. The boys are working hard at school, and our goal is to finish the green test 120 for the three older boys, before Cousin Tucker arrives on April 13th. We can’t wait to have Tucker spend his Spring Break with us for a week!