Category Archives: NATIONAL PARKS


The coolest memory about our visit to Zion National Park in May 2014 is that the boys were able to receive their first Junior Ranger badge!  Although they completed the program at Arches, we weren’t able to get the hardware because the park closed before we finished the requirements!

This Ford has been faithful to us all around the country — North to South, East to West.

The Junior Ranger Program allows the kids to search the park for a variety of aspects that are unique to that particular area.  It makes learning fun by dividing up the activities into games.  Part of the purpose of the program is to teach children how to care for the parks, nature, and animals.  In each of the park programs that we’ve done so far, the boys had to pick up trash.

Manu with his favorite person in the whole world in one of God’s greatest settings!
Forget the books, let’s play in the water! Daddy and the kids distracted.

Here is a list of some of the things the boys did to earn this patch!

Ranger Micah discovering one of the plants on the assignment book.

1.  Animal Bingo — there was a list of animals which were organized bingo-style on the booklet.  The boys had to try to find four in a row.  The hero of this challenge was Ty!  Because he’s so short, he was able to quickly spot our missing animal–a lizard!  He was really proud of that moment.  

2.  Clean Trash — I was really surprised to find so much litter on these grounds — especially cigarettes!  Each person had to collect five different types of litter.  Cheaters could go right around the trash bins and pick up the trash that people carelessly drop near the trash, instead of in the trash.  You’ll be proud to know that we searched for the trash in hard-to-reach places!

3.  Poop findings — one of the more interesting activities that we did was finding scat.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find nothing out of the ordinary.  It was mostly deer poop!

I don’t know who was more happy — the boys or the parents. They seem to be smiling because it’s all over.

4.  Draw a patch — each of us also had the opportunity to design and draw our very own Zion National Park patch.  Other parks did something similar — design a new park sign, etc.  It was a creative way to get the kids thinking about nature, and reflecting on the parts that are most meaningful to them about the park.

The Ramos-Namm Boys!
The ranger asking the boys questions about their adventure.


Thanks to a tip from our friend Amy and inspiration from the PBS series, “National Parks:  America’s Best Idea”, we embarked on a new and exciting adventure.  Our other good friends Daniel and Kerri recently introduced us to a Junior Ranger program that allows kids to explore these great places while learning how to care and protect America’s best properties.

Ty the Junior Ranger drawing a picture of his favorite place at Arches Park.

There are 58 national parks in America.  If you include all National Park Service properties, the number goes up to more than 380!  Our family goal is to visit as many national parks as we possibly can–hopefully hitting all 58 before the kids get to college.

The cool sand hill at the entrance of Arches.

With no time to lose, we began this new family adventure by going out west.  Most national parks are in California, Utah, and Colorado.  The largest one is in Alaska!  There is only one in Michigan.

A rest area in Iowa

It has been a long time since the Ramos-Lumbreras klan has had a family reunion.  With Mother’s Day approaching, we thought it was a good time to visit my mom.  Our road trip included the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado on day one.  Making so much headway on our first day, we took advantage by visiting Arches National Park.  Among so many other things, Arches is cool because it has a huge sand hill right by its entrance.  This means that energetic boys can wear themselves out by having tons of fun climbing up this very difficult natural playground.

Judy and I only made it up the hill once, while the boys enjoyed multiple trips to the top.  It is hard to believe that climbing up this hill of sand will go down as one of the most memorable things our family has done together.  I have never seen our boys so happy!  It also reminds me of the importance of spending as much time as possible with our growing children.  Before too long, they’ll be out of the house and Judy and I do not want to spend the remainder of our lives regretting all the things we could have done with them, but didn’t because we were too busy majoring in the minors.

Micah having fun at a gas station in Nebraska — shortly after this picture, we hit a crazy lightening storm as we drove through the state!

Road trips are awesome because you can stop whenever you want, wherever you want.  As long as  the pitstops are fun — with a quick game of tag at rest areas, or a some playtime at meals, the kids seem to enjoy the experience.  Our worship in the car consisted mostly of singing and singing and singing.  I will never forget this trip as long as I live.

Another cool thing about visiting national parks is being seeing other crazy families who do the same thing.  Some drive buses, others haul nice fifth-wheels, while others get nice hotels.  From high class to ghetto, part of the adventure is meeting others who have a similar vision.

This picture was taken at a gas stop in Moab. Notice the creative lock on the gas tank.

After this trip, we are convinced that there is no better way of spending vacation time than visiting national parks.  It is tons of fun, very educational, and the kids have an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of our magnificent country and God’s awesome creation.  I cannot wait for our next family adventure to an American National Park.  Anyone game to join us?



For our Spring Break vacation, we headed to Gatlinburg, TN.  Honestly, what drew us to this location was the indoor water park in one of the city’s resorts.  Long story short, the water park was regrettable, but the experience of Gatlinburg was awesome.

It’s hard to believe that our Manu is 8 years-old. They grow too fast!

Normally, we like to take a family vacation to celebrate Manu’s birthday and mine.  This break came at an opportune time — our family needed to get away and spend some quality time together.  We  drove down to TN for the week to get away from the business and stress of our lives in Michigan.  One of the best parts of this trip was that we were able to bring along our faithful friend Bentley.

The trip consisted of lots of swimming, great family game nights and video nights, hiking on Sabbath, and trips to local spots — including WonderWorks.  We were also able to visit the nation’s best pancake spot.  It’s so jamming that it only accepts cash money!  It does live up to its hype, though.

Judy and I also spent some time running inventory of our family and talking about plans for the future.  We read together and discussed strategies to ensure that our boys are growing spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally while they played in the pool.

To our surprise, we discovered partway through our vacation that Familee was in town.  The parents enjoyed a good conversation over a meal while the kids watched nature videos.

We were sad when our vacation time ended, but refreshed heading back home with renewed strength and vigor to tackle life in ministry.

Manu and Judy do a rope course together while Israel gets conned into ride a G-Force thingy that almost made him throw up! The other two boys are watching daddy get owned by 3Gs


Bentley — our loyal friend — enjoying the water
A Ramos Family tradition — swimming with the boys
Talking about our kids and praying that they are faithful to God no matter what
Family game night
Manu’s favorite meal — spaghetti!
A proud mother and lucky son
Can you guess the animals?
Daddy playing against Mama
Ty wanted to take a picture by the fox
A mom and her boys by an upside down building
Taking a picture with the waterfall in the background during our Sabbath hike
There’s a one-in-a-million chance of finding the blue ball among the rest.
Playing around during our family hike
Ty Armstrong