"A Family of Travelers" ringleader's Profile
We are a family of four. We travel everywhere together and enjoy building family memories. Our family manages to travel a little bit every year due to the fact that my sister and I are both teachers and have summers off each year. Since we enjoy our parents' company so much, we ALWAYS travel together and make many happy memories.
On some occasions, our family takes along a large group of some of our students. My sister and I both teach music classes to home-schooled students via piano lessons, but most of our students are our handbell choir ringers! We teach 4 choirs in levels of beginner, intermediate, advanced, and TRAVELING advanced. Our students come from varied distances to our classes - some driving as far as just around the corner to the seminary where we hold our (independent) classes once a week, and some driving 45 - 60 minutes one-way! If you've never heard handbells or a handbell choir before, click on our external web page link above to hear a little of this handbell music that is so much a part of our lives!
When planning our trips, we always visit VT. Thanks to good, helpful advice from some of you VT members, we are able to build a truly fabulous, unforgettable trips! Our trouble seems to be that we're so busy traveling and planning trips, that getting our own tips on our pages just doesn't seem to happen. Does anybody else have the same trouble?
All of us were brought up on traveling. Beginning with our own home-state in the United States, we eventually decided to see the whole of our beautiful country. Also a home-schooling family, we decided to make that a part of our educational curriculum and took a 5-week trip from the east coast to the west and back again in our camper. We so enjoyed that experience, that we did it again 4 years later. The result is that we've visited every state in the US. We meandered into bordering countries, Mexico and Canada. Once we covered the majority of our home country, including Hawaii, it was time to begin seeing the rest of the world!
It is the most happy thing to be able to travel together as a family. We hope to be able to eventually share our family's travel journal which may help you plan your own happy times.
Traveling the world gives you a great understanding of the people we share God's world with - the intriguing different cultures and backgrounds, the histories of the world from each country's perspective. Being Americans, we find this very interesting because, generally, Americans are a mixture of all nations of the world. In our case, we're all of Europe packed into one American family.
It was our genealogical studies of our family history that inspired our travels to Europe, and we have found ourselves very much rewarded. We have come home with a better understanding of our heritages in the "old world." And, we're very proud of them. Not only have we seen the lands of our ancestors, but we have also met quite a number of their descendants still living there... our distant cousins! It's an incredible feeling to find and meet relatives still living in our family's homelands when our own pioneered and came to the USA as early as the 1600's! Following the waves of emigration from Europe to America is like following our family history.
I have seen many VT pages that list things most enjoyed. In order for you to appreciate my personal passions in life, I must point out that the person addressing you in the family photo above is located on the right. You will often hear me refer to "us" ... by this I mean our family. We do so much together that we have grown quite accustomed to functioning as one unit. Most people don't understand how we can do that and when they witness it in action, they're truly amazed. I attribute it to the fact that we all follow the same Christian faith from the heart.
Perhaps, then, my passions in life will not surprise you:
1) Following God and His Will for my life - this brings me much joy and many surprises!
2) Serving the needs of others that He brings across my path
3) Teaching and encouraging (especially children) in their knowledge and education as well as encouraging them to live their lives wisely and to heed their parents' instruction
4) Music! I have taught piano lessons to all ages of students since 1987, and handbell choir since 2000.
5) Travel! I LOVE traveling and meeting the wonderful people around the world. The next best thing to traveling is meeting people from around the world on VT.
6) For entertainment we enjoy family nights where we pop the popcorn, spread the feast, and enjoy watching an old, black-and-white movie from the late 30's - 40's. (These are our favorites because we appreciate the censoring guidelines of the times.)
Perhaps my life sounds a bit boring to you if your life's passions are different than mine; however, I enjoy a joyful, settled, satisfied exisitence surrounded by a lot of love. With all of that underlying my daily activities I feel I have everything I need.
Our family trips include:
-Yearly trips to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit our grandparents for as long as I can remember; also, many yearly spring visits to Ocean City, New Jersey. Occasionally we'd go camping in Blue Mountain, Pennsylvania, as well.
-1985- A 5-week trip with our family of six from the east coast to the west in a 23-ft. motorhome camper
-1989- A 4-week trip doing the same, except using a different route to see different states, national parks, tourist attractions, and national monuments
Canada, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia
-1996- Oregon, Washington
-1998- Israel (2 weeks); Finland, and Russia (Missions trip with our church for 2 weeks)
-2000- Hawaii (3 weeks on Oahu, Big Island, Kauai, Maui)
-2002- Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales (3 weeks)
-2003- Switzerland, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein (3 weeks)
-2004- Northern Ireland, Scotland (with bell choir) 2 1/2 weeks; Alaska (family) and Yukon Territory, Canada
-2005- Cincinnati, Ohio (with bell choir); Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri (3 weeks); Arizona and Mexico (2 weeks)
-2006- HersheyPark in Hershey, Pennsylvania (with bell choir); and our family visited Ocean City, New Jersey; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; many trips to Cincinnati to visit our 89-yr.old grandmother
-2007- Germany, Belgium, Holland (with bell choir); Vancouver, BC (family)
-2008- Our normal family vacations to visit Grandma in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a week's pre-season vacation to Ocean City, New Jersey
-2009- Our very first Caribbean cruise on Holland America's Eurodam to St. Thomas, Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, Bahamas in January; A road trip of ITALY - including Venice, Florence, Rome, and our second cruise on Holland America's Noordam of the Roman Empire/ Greek Isles (which leaves Rome) - including stops in Croatia, Greece (Athens, Corfu, Olympia, Santorini), Turkey (Ephesus), and Sicily (Messina)
-2010 - A transatlantic cruise from Amsterdam to New York City in August/September... with stops at Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland; Orkney Islands, Faroe Islands (Denmark), Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland...
-2011 - A Western Caribbean Crusie in January with stops in Bahamas, Grand Turk, Grand Cayman Islands, Costa Maya (Mexico). My sister and I are recently SCUBA-certified divers, and we really enjoyed seeing the sealife of the amazing Caribbean reefs!
April 2004 - We just returned from Scotland where we took our teenage handbell choir (24 people) for a concert tour and some sightseeing! It was a grand experience for all of us!
April/May 2004- Our next trip will take us to Ocean City, NJ where we can have a vacation from a vacation and do nothing but listen to the surf on the sandy beach, walk the "boards", and rest. We take no work with us and the computer is left at home. This is strictly "self" time we spend as a family.
May, 2004 - Our next big venture for the year will be a life-long dream of our father's... Alaska! We'll be flying to Ancorage, renting a motorhome and driving everywhere for just over 2 weeks. We're looking forward to that!
Spring, 2005- Somehow we missed Nebraska and Oklahoma in our two family trips west in the 1980's! We're going to catch them this year and finish our 50 states!
Fall, 2006 - Right now we're planning two trips - one 12-day trip to Germany with the bell choir in 2007, and a family trip to Vancouver, BC!
Spring, 2009 - After not going anywhere out of the ordinary in 2008, we're starting off 2009 with a bang! We took our first cruise in January to the Eastern Caribbean. Now, with both airline and cruise fares being so low, we have only one month to plan for 20 days in Italy and the Greek Isles. 10 days alloted for Venice, Florence, and Rome, and 10 days on our ship trip of the Roman Empire! It's taking three of us to cover all the bases of such a journey in just one short month of planning, but who could pass up last-minute $347 airfare to Europe?! It's a big job, but our VT friends are helping us make record time. Thank you, all!!!
2011 - Our family travels have taken a turn in the past couple years due to the needs of our dad's health. Since we can't do road trips anymore, we're taking to cruising. Although, even that, now, may be placed on hold until we see how things are faring in the near future...
I suppose I can't end without introducing you to our family pets. Two years ago we had no indoor pets except the fish. Then a stray cat, Patch, adopted us and had four kittens. Two of those we gave away, leaving two - Nip (male) and Tux (female). The following year, our dear Patch had four kittens as did Tux. It was interesting dealing with eight kittens at one time! Needless to say, all of the outdoor cats were trapped and fixed while we attempted to give away kittens. We were left with three of the eight babies who are now indoor cats, and they are potty-trained at that! (Mom was allergic to the kitty litter, so we had to teach them to use the toilet!) So, now we have three indoor cats and three outdoor cats.
We also have a flock of chickens. At the beginning of the summer we had fourteen, but one died from the summer heat and our rooster (age 7 1/2) just recently died. We enjoy collecting eggs each morning and watching the hens scratch in the dirt looking for earthy delicacies to add to their diet.
We do have one fish left, Tubby, who is a silverdollar specimen. He's about 10 years old, now. Our fish live for a long time, it seems. The last one, Spike, was a marbled gourami and lived for 12 years. The cats and the fish have an interesting relationship. Tubby enjoys their company when they come pat the glass and look into the tank.
At one time we did have a golden-retriever dog, Farrah, who was a gem of a pet. We miss her dearly, but forever have her memory.
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