Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Smattering of Christmas Pictures

Here are some highlights from the last couple of days...

the boys looking for a Christmas tree
ty and jj decorating Jesus' birthday cake (appently he is 296)emilee all ready for the christmas eve servicethe boys opening up their christmas eve pj'sty showing papa some of the pictures he has taken on his camerauncle shawn and auntie (one day hopefully) amy holding emilee on christmas eveemilee opening up her first presentty got a shaving kit for his mad skillsjj opening up one of his carsamy holding emilee on christmas afternoon

in the afternoon on christmas we are going over to some friends from our old church. hope everyone had a great christmas we sure did!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Dancing Sister

this is some video of kellee getting emilee to dance. i would have rather seen kellee dancing....

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Well it is official...we are home. We arrived home late (10:30pm) on Tuesday night. It was earlier than we anticipated, but once we left California we really saw no need to hang around. I longed for a bed where my feet didn't hang off the end, and a shower where my head doesn't hit the ceiling. And I know Kellee is excited about not going to laundry mats and lighting pilot lights when she wants to use the oven...oh yeah did I mention that I no longer have to dump our feces out of a drain anymore either, an definite bonus to being home...with that being said though Kellee and I both agree that this was the best month of our lives!

As we were crossing the boarder I was in the way back seat putting Emilee to sleep, Kellee was driving (cute blondes make crossing the boarder easier), and the boys were in the middle bench. I put my arms around the boys and reminded our family of how lucky we are to have each other and what a blessing the entire trip was. At that point I got a little misty (there was dust in the van I am sure) and Kellee started to cry. There were a couple of things that made it emotional, the fact that our trip together was over (and it was sooo good), but it also marked the end of our time in Surrey, because we now have to begin the moving process and all of that stuff. It was a sad but happy moment, one of those bitter sweet kinda things.

The tears pointed to how great our trip was. I am not sure I can put into words how we experienced this trip, but it was just what we needed when we needed. The only word that comes to mind is 'beautiful'. That sounds girly and I hate sounding girly, but it is true. It wont be the sites that we saw, or the weather, or some of the cool things we did that I will remember (some of them I am sure will not be forgotten). But rather that the 6am wake up calls from JJ declaring 'it's wake up time!' or the new catch phrase around our house, 'peanut butter jelly smack on the butt!' or the concerts we had in our underwear with the boys playing guitar, mom on the piano, and me being the lead singer, those are the moments that made this trip what it was for us, 'beautiful'. There I go sounding girly again.

It will forever be a passion of mine to create experiences like this for my family. I do not think we will duplicate this one, each one will be different and special on their own, but I can't wait to make more memories. For those of you with families, please take opportunities to be alone, together. If you get the chance, pile in a van, a trailer, a tent, whatever, and get away, with no agenda, just being together.

Here are some pics. My plan was to blog about San Francisco, but it got hijacked with the girly stuff. I will say this about San Fran though, cool city, crazy streets, stupid expensive (40 bucks to park for the day!!!)
my family with the Golden State bridge in the background, it is big!

this is the most crooked street in the world...it is crazy

me and JJ on the trolley car...like the one you see in the Full House intro

me and Tyler on the trolley cartoken shot of the Oregon coast, it was super nice

Some people wanted to see what photos of our house when it was all dolled up to be sold. My brother was kind enough to snap some shots for us.

our kitchen.our living room.more living room.emilee's room.more emilee's roomthe boys room.our room

So our house is sold. I start as the Youth and College Pastor at Saanich Baptist Church (www.saanichbaptist.org) on January 15th in Victoria and we have no house there...please pray for us. We are going to spend the entire day on Saturday looking at rental and purchase homes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

San Francisco and Beyond

hey everyone. just throwing up a quick update for all those who have been reading and curious about our current geographical state. we left malibu on friday and spent friday and saturday night in san francisco. we had fun, i will post more about that time and photos later, the camera is in the car right now.

we left san francisco and landed for the night in eureka (sp?) california. then we got stupid early (6am) and left to hit the road again. we landed tonight (tuesday night) in portland. we are pretty close to being home. we are going to take 2 days to get home so we can do some shopping in the seattle area.

that should have us home around the 19th. a day ahead of schedule.

also want to say a happy birthday to my brother shawn. he is 23 today!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A little sumptin' sumptin' for ya...

The Long Road Home

A couple of days ago when we looked in the atlas the amount of space between where we were and home was daunting. So daunting that we have decided to extend our trip by another month...

Just kidding. But we are definitely having such an awesome time that we never want it to end.

We spent a couple of more days in San Dimas. We loved our little site, it was on the end of a row, there was a large field and fire pit behind us, and the view was amazing. It overlooked a small lake with some huge houses and mountains on one side and a great view of the city down below on the other side. A couple of campfires and a whole lot of just hanging out we left on Wednesday morning.

the view from our trailer

Emilee looking all cute on the swing

JJ and Emilee going down the slide
Ty and JJ creatively getting a drink
Kellee and I being all in love

the boys watching a movie during the campfire

Kellee eating her staple of oreos and peanut butter

We decided we should start heading north, since that is the direction of Canada, so we did. We drove right up to the coast and started heading north. Our plan is drive basically right of the coast all the way home. It is not the quickest way, but we would really like to avoid snow if at all possible and the coast is the best way to do that.

Our journey north ended in Malibu where we camped on the beach for 2 days. You remember that awesome place we stopped at on the way down, we loved it so much that we stopped there again. Only this time we did 2 nights. It was fun because there was actually nothing to do. You couldn't just make yourself busy, you actually had to sit and do nothing. Although the boys and I killed a decent amount of time making a 'princess path' for Mom and Emilee that went from the trailer to the firepit. We went out and collected rocks to make the path and to make a sign that said 'The Synesaels', it took alot of rocks to do that. We had a couple of huge beach fires, I read a bunch and chopped wood. The boys did lots of bike riding and exploring, Kellee and Tyler actually saw a seal in the ocean, he swam by a couple of times and once he stopped to play. Kellee made out with me on the beach under the stars by the campfire (that was her highlight I am sure), knit and held Emilee because she is a little sick and seems to be needy (although she seems fine today). So on we woke up early Friday and hit the road, it may seem ridiculous, but we were actually packed and pulling out of our site at 8:22am. JJ has this knack of waking up at the first sign of sunlight and yelling 'It's wake up time!'

the boys helping dad set up the trailer

she being cute again!!CJ Parker to the rescue!
our 'princess path'The Synesaels
the sunset (kellee did something cool with the camera to make it those colours) Emilee and her daddy at the campfire

So we left and we drove until we hit San Francisco. We pulled into here around 4:30, got settled, got dinner, did tonnes of laundry, and are now just planning our Saturday. We are going to go and do some touristy stuff while we are here, go to church on Sunday (if anyone knows of any neat churches we should check out let us know) and then leave again.

A few people have been asking, 'What about Mexico?' Great question. We decided pretty early in our trip that we weren't going to go down there for a couple of reasons. One, because we couldn't bring the trailer down, which would mean paying to store it up here. Two, because it would have meant tacking 3 extra days of straight driving to the first leg of our trip, and the kids would have gone batty. Bigger than our desire to go to Mexico was our desire to relax, have fun, be on our own schedule, and be spontaneous. So that is what is up with Mexico.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pics from the last few days

JJ passed out in the car on the way to Palm Springs
Palm Springs has hundreds of these huge windmills to generate power. Who knew?The fam feeding the ducks in our Palm Springs trailer parkPalm Springs is know for its hot springs. Our trailer park had 4 of them. They pipe the water into little pools. It is sort of like a hot tub.My girlsJJ's butt cleavageBeverly HillsThe church was just off of Santa MonicaThe fam checking out the scenery at The Grove after churchthey are both soooo hot!
The Hollywood sign
the best shot of one of those star thingys on the sidewalk I could get without getting out of my van.

San Dimas

Why the random picture of Poly Shore and Brandon Fraser? Great question! We are currently resting our heads in San Dimas, California. For those of you who don't know, this movie was filmed in this city. It's kind of cool for me...I'm weird like that! We are in a nice trailer park (yes those words do go together) overlooking the lake and a great view of the city. We are about 40 east of LA. We decided after 2 nights in Palm Springs that it was time to move on. The weather was horrible, there was a storm coming in and the wind was crazy...and the area is more of a retirement place then it is family friendly.
So we left town, but hit the hugest outlet mall I have ever seen, it was wild. Probably about 200 stores or so. So we shopped from 9-2. Ate lunch and hit the road. We got some cool stuff, great deals, especially with the dollar right now.
So at about 7pm on Saturday we arrived in San Dimas. We woke up in the morning and loaded up the van and drove into Beverly Hills to attend church. We went to Mosaic which is a 'movement' (I don't think they like being called a church) that gathers in various locations in the LA area and is led by a guy named Erwin McManus. It was very cool. They met in Beverly Hills High School, which was an experience all on its own (brought back memories of Dylan, Brandon, Brenda, Kelly, and the crew, you 90210ers know what I am talking about). It was the polar opposite of our Saddleback experience. Mosaic was very artsy, and reflective. It was neat to see how they are obviously meeting a need in that area. If I could give you an image Saddleback would be like a shopping mall out in the suburbs, it has everything you could every want. Mosaic is more like Starbucks, only not Starbucks, more like an independent version of Starbucks, it is slow, methodical, and highly relational. It was neat to see 2 polar opposites making a difference because of they are presenting truth in a way that resonates with the culture they are in. God is good.
After church we toured Beverly Hills for a bit, people are crazy rich there. And we went to an out door mall/market thing called The Grove. If you could imagine a shopping mall inside out that was The Grove. All the stores you could want and more, but they were situated around this huge park/sitting area that had a trolley running through it, a massive Christmas train, fountains, etc...It was a little overwhelming, Beverly Hills is not super mini-van/double stroller friendly. But we just hunkered down and did our thing. Emilee stole the show. Kellee had her in a sling (www..coastalsling.com no problem Niki!) and a really cute hat on her and she was smiling at everyone! I thought everyone was going to swww.top shopping so they could announce that there was a really cute baby that everyone had to stop and admire. Well not quite, but they should have!
Then we left there and drove up the road to Hollywood. My wife has this goal of seeing a famous person before we leave. It almost happened. We drove by a movie theatre and there were tonnes of photographers around, but no famous people. Hollywood is a total dump. So we left. We got home around 8pm or so. Then we had a really nice campfire, some dinner and went to bed.
JJ woke up puking and had diarrhea. He seems better now, but who knows with him. I took took all the kids to McDonalds this morning so Kellee could get some extra sleep because she was up a lot last night. Today is just lazy reading/laundry/sterilizing the trailer day. We are going to stay one more night in San Dimas and then go back towards the coast. We will likely be staying somewhere around Malibu tonight for a couple of nights, hopefully on the beach again. We will likely be without internet for a couple of days.
Believe it or not but we are slowly working our way home. We should be home in 10 days. Then the real world hits. Poor us.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Desert

We are now in Palm Springs! We are actually staying in a little town called Desert Hot Springs just 20 minutes outside of Palm Springs. We were originally going to spend a couple of nights on the beach at Carlsbad, but a really bad storm was on the way so we thought it better to get outta dodge!!

We had a good couple of last days in San Diego. On Wednesday we did a boys-girls day. Kellee went to a fancy pants shopping mall and did some serious shopping (gone from 9-3) with Emilee. They boys and I stayed at the trailer park and sang lots of songs, played basketball, video games, ate tonnes of junk food, and played on the beach. It was a blast and I think Kellee really appreciated being alone for a while.

Then on Thursday I did something completely random. I heard that the San Diego Museum had a special exhibit featuring the Dead Sea Scrolls. For those who don't know what they are, they are the oldest existing copies (that we have) of Biblical and non-biblical writings. I had the privilege of seeing copies of Leviticus, Isaiah, Psalms, Job, Deuteronomy, and others dated between 265 BC - 60 AD. It was awesome.

When I got home we piled in the car and here we are in Palm Springs. We don't know how long we are going to be here and we don't know where we are going next. So far Palm Springs is quite dry and sandy with lots of Palm trees. Hopefully it gets better.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sunny San Diego

For the avid blog readers out there (mainly family, I would imagine), you are probably thinking to yourselves, 'Man, those guys are having so much fun that they haven't blogged in like 3 days!!!' While we are having fun, we haven't been overly busy, it just was seeming redundant to blog the same thing 3 days in a row, so I stored up some ammo to have a worthwhile entry...

We arrived in San Diego late Saturday evening. We woke up Sunday morning and left our trailer around 8:30am to head out to Lake Forest California to visit Saddleback Church. It is a huge church. I expected it to be huge, but it is really, really huge. It has its own traffic system (lights, etc..), a huge 3 storey parking garage, multiple buildings, beautiful landscape with fountains, little streams, an awesome outdoor baptismal, it really gave me that 'WOW' factor that I was expecting, and the crazy thing is when you are expecting a WOW it usually doesn't happen, but this did. It was awesome to see how God has been blessing people through the church, and to imagine that this was a little church plant of only a few was great. God is good, and we were encouraged by being there, not only through the experience, but also through the teaching and worship.

this is the only good pic we have of the church

After church on Sunday we did the Christian thing and went our for lunch and then shopping. Nothing too special.
The next day we were all a little baked so we stuck around Campland and I did some reading, the kids helped mom with laundry, and then the boys and I went for a little swim in the pool. After the pool we came home, had some dinner and had a campfire and went to bed.

he did alot of looking not alot of swimming

this guy loves the water, as long as he can touch the bottom
check out those biceps
Yesterday was sort of the big day in terms of the reason we came this way. We went to the San Diego Zoo for the day. It was really fun, tonnes of walking, but the kids had a blast! It was your typical zoo, animals caged up, and people telling us how they love being in their recreated 'natural habitats'. You should have seen the polar bears, there was nothing natural about that...(just for the record I am not an animal activist, I love eating dead animals, I just think they should be a bit more honest about the whole thing). But we saw EVERYTHING and did the bus tour to boot. The kids thought the bus ride was cool and Tyler's favorite animal was the giraffe's, ironically they didn't actually have giraffe's. Here are some pics from our day
self explanatory
JJ filling the tank before another round of walking, sno-cones yummy me and Kel
the boys playing over the lion cage...just kidding, they were ducks or something (why have ducks at a zoo???)the fam on the busmy girls suckin' facedad and JJ eatin' some chipstoken animal picture (random elephant fact: did you know that elephants have thousands of tiny, ultra sensitive nerve endings on the bottom of their feet and they can feel vibrations in the ground that most animals cannot feel. during the recent tsunami just hours before the water hit the land the elephants were all running for the mountains, elephants were breaking chains to free themselves and running wild, because they could feel the earth quake in their feet...crazy huh?)
Today the girls are going shopping and the boys are hanging around the trailer, reading, playing, and stuff like that. Tonight is our last night here and we think we are going to a place called Carlsbad Beach for a couple of nights (dry camping, right on the beach again) and then no idea after that...any suggestions????