A Year in Review 2014

This is always a fun one to share, the year in review.  Sort of gets crazy when you look at some of those numbers.


If there is something you are curious about feel free to ask and I will add it.

Countries Visited: Canada

States Visited: 34 plus Washington DC, lifetime total is still 49.

National Parks Visited: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Shenandoah National Park.

Miles Driven: 50,000

Nights in a Hotel: 340, yup this was a long year.

Tours: Rohde & Schwarz Technology Tour, Con-Way Tailgating Tour, DIA Away and Animal Connection by The Smithsonian Institute.

Best Location: Venice Chalk Festival with Animal Connections



Favorite New Place: Key West, we had been saving that stop up for a good three-day weekend and got lucky this year.  It is really worth going once.



***This is part of a series of posts called “Travel Tuesday“, each covering topics unique to our lifestyle***


We are now back to work, had a few days in Detroit to check in and then onto Indy to help out on a project.

Courtesy of Google Maps

Courtesy of Google Maps

Song of the week: Sleepyhead by Passion Pit

Week in Review: We went to the movies this week, together but not to the same movie. We actually split up to see films that the other had been to while we were apart. Josh took the in The Hobbit and I went to Birdman. Birdman deserves every Oscar nomination for performance it’s getting but I think it should stop there. It’s a really unique film and a different way to look at mental health issues. However I personally don’t like the genre of movie and TV shows about lives of actors. I can’t stand 30 Rock, I don’t find wealthy and famous people getting to shenanigans that have no connection to the real world interesting. That is not exactly what Birdman is but that part was distracting. Someone who is struggling with where their life has gone after some bad choices is interesting.

We also went to Wild, I highly recommend this book. I liked the movie and the book but especially the book. Both Josh and I have read it and enjoyed. I would be curious to hear from anyone who has seen the movie but not read the book, I wonder how they felt about her at the end.

Fun Photo of the Week:


My Deep Diver tea steeper having a dip.

My Deep Diver tea steeper having a dip.

We Went to Bonaire

I’m back!!! We have been away for long enough and have one heck of a trip to share. This year Josh and I went someplace unique for our winter vacation, Bonaire. This Caribbean destination is part of the ABC islands or sometimes referred to as the Dutch Caribbean, Dutch Indies or Dutch Antilles. That sure is a lot of Dutch huh!! Like I don’t get enough of that with a last name like Van Gelder.   Actually that was one reason we decided to go, the Dutchness aside, the “B” island is known as a SCUBA diver’s paradise. After the recommendation of a family member, Thank You Will, we went for it.


What's more Dutch than a windmill

What’s more Dutch than a windmill

I have many things to talk about over the coming weeks but let’s just start with the nuts and bolts of planning the trip. Getting to Bonaire and getting around was different than other places in that region. This is not a typical Caribbean island set up with massive chain resorts to hold beach going tourist, nope it’s all about diving.

Into Post (3 of 2)

To get there we flew on the once weekly offering from Delta, yep you heard me, one flight a week. There is your start to different. If you are flying from the US and want to go directly to Bonaire there are only a few carriers that will take you and they only fly once a week. However there is a second option and this might be good for many. You can take a daily flight from the US to Curacao, “C” island, and then get on an InselAir commuter to Bonaire. We were able to be flexible with our departure and arrival days so Delta’s Saturday flight fit us fine. We also had miles to spend on the tickets, they run around $600 from Chicago.


Then there is a getting around, again you have two options. If you chose to stay at one of the resorts, mind that they are not chains and operate on a double occupancy scale, they will help you with transportation and outings. They also charge a hefty penny for that “service”. You are limited to their reefs or the excursion reefs without a car. However if you stay at a rental condo or apartment (even what we would call a condo is often called an apartment) you will also be renting a car. Not exactly car, you will rent a truck and not just any truck a little Helix pickup with a rack in the back for your air tanks!!! It was the cutest little thing and we could just go, set our own schedule and really enjoy the island. The truck we had was a manual, something good to note when making the arrangements.


I’ve sort of led into this but we rented a condo, CoralSeas Apartments. This place was amazing. One of the highlights for us was that the kitchen came with a few amenities, can’t tell you how many trips we have taken where we don’t cook a thing due to the unit not even having a salt shaker. No one wants to start from scratch just to make breakfast. CoralSeas is well set up for divers. They have a rinse tank; clothes line and the patios have hooks for you to hang your gear to dry. There are three units that share the tank and pool. While we did see our neighbors you didn’t feel like they were always around.

Into Post (2 of 2)

With all this good there must be some bad, well there is (just a little). This is no foodie’s paradise, I’m not saying all the food was bad, we had a couple of good experiences that I will share. As a whole the food was average. Most places are not open for lunch unless a large cruise ship is docked. We ate lunch out most days and only dinner a few, this is a bit counterculture, as you will find most places open for dinner. We prefer to be out during the day and relax at night. The second bad thing is theft. We did not have anything stolen or broken into but it is a well-known problem. So when driving your cute little truck to a dive site and going down for an hour thieves are known to pilfer your vehicle. You are instructed to keep it unlocked and nothing you don’t mind loosing in there. I was given a scary warning before going but once there assured that items towels and clothing will not likely be lost. We did buy cheap sunglasses there to leave in the truck.


Sheesh that was more of an into than I planned. So overview done, enjoy what’s coming soon.


Paw-jamma Pants!!!!

For Blog (4 of 4)

I have neglected one of our most popular posts, the annual jammie pants photos!!!! If you are new then let me explain.  Every year my amazing mother makes matching pajama pants for my entire family.  We all put them on for a photo and them wear them Christmas morning.  That way even if we aren’t together we sort of are.

For Blog (3 of 4)

This year had a special theme, Paw-Jammas.  My dad goes by the moniker of Paw to his grandkids, yes Paw vs. Pa.  My mom came up with a great idea to celebrate his year of winning some big car shows.  The pants are made from paw print fabric and the shirts we are wearing are from a show my father’s Fairlane took a trophy at in 2013 and was featured on the 2014 shirt.

For Blog (2 of 4)

For Blog (5 of 4)

Wordless Wednesday

Apple Crazy (1 of 1)

Wordless Wednesday


Well I hope no one is trying too hard to follow our upcoming schedule because it just changed again.


I am currently in Florida but head out Monday to join up with Josh in Nashville. He is in St. Louis today, actually going to see my parents. After Nashville we roll onto Knoxville but plan to actually spend the week in Asheville.

Week in Review:
Well many things were a bit rattled this week. I spent the entire week in Florida and Josh was in St. Louis for most of it. He went to City Museum and had a great time. He said it was incredible. As you can see it was pretty crazy.




He made sure to take a pic with one of my buddies

He made sure to take a pic with one of my buddies




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