About Us

My photo
The purpose of our blog is to share our journey through life with family and friends while we leave our mark on this world. Our 20's have been very kind to us and as we enter the 30's we are hoping to continue to enjoy our time in this thing we call life. I should have called this blog "Traveling through Life".

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Meaning

Every year around this time I tend to feel a little "Bah Humbug". It just takes me a little longer to get in the spirit. I always consider not putting up our Christmas tree or decorations. (As I write this blog I hear my my co-workers playing Christmas music that has set the mood for this post, very appropriate for the spirit I now have :)

Anyway every year I consider "skipping" Christmas in our house but I always end up decorating. Granted my tree stays up for a short time but I still do it. [Start Rant] I just don't understand the people who go all out with decor like this house that I have to drive by every day that has a yard full of plastic figures and enough lights for the whole town of Lebanon. Not to mention the milk jugs they have lined around their yard full of lights, resourceful yes.....attractive no! They put all this stuff up at the start of November and it stays up through April....not kidding on this! [End Rant]

This year thanks to our efforts to be more minimal we question everything we are doing? What is the meaning behind why we do this? Do we really need this? Last night we asked each other "what's the point of putting up this tree and all the stuff that comes with it"?
I have never known the meaning behind all the other stuff that comes with Christmas except that is the day we celebrate Jesus' birthday.
After doing some internet searching(hopefully accurate) I now know a little bit more. Every country has its own beliefs but this is what I took from it. Here are the things that we were questioning:

Christmas Tree- The tree is symbolic of the everlasting life we will have through Jesus

Lights- Symbolizes Christ and the "light of the world"

Colors Green and Red- Green is life and Red is Jesus' blood

Gifts- 3 gifts were given to Jesus when he was born.....I think it's important to note that 3 gifts were given not a flood of presents like many children today are expecting!

The whole Santa deal- I read up on the St. Nick story which was too long to blog about and I find it interesting how Santa became the hype of Christmas. I have not yet decided if I will do the Santa thing with my children but if I do it won't be the center of Christmas.

So I will probably still put up a tree every year but at least I won't need reminded why I am doing it.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Last week we went to California for a friend's wedding. The wedding was in Orange County so I was excited to see calmer areas of Cali. Matt had never been to California so the whole traffic-smog experience was new to him. For the first part of our mini-vaca we did the touristy stuff in LA before heading south for the wedding. We cruised up and down Pacific Coast Highway and tried to stop at most of the beaches(my favorite part). The weather in California was perfect the whole trip. I could live out there again!

This is Venice beach. We must have been there on a quiet day because usually there are weird people and street performs lurking all over this beach.

We had to take advantage of perfect weather in November and ride in style in Cali so this Jeep did the job!

I did some blog stalking before we left and found out that the Biggest Loser Ranch is on public property near Malibu where we would be so we made a visit! The show is not currently filming but some producers were there I'm guessing to prep for the finale so we could not go inside the building but they let me snap a photo real quick.

This is Beverly Hills. We scoped out some of the huge homes and I felt like we were on forbidden property the whole time even though they were public streets.

We did a short hike to a photo spot for the Hollywood sign. This was in a park where apparently a lot of the celebs take their kids to play but none were playing that day. I am 99% positive that we saw Tito Jackson in Hollywood. (We went all the way to Cali and just saw Tito). You can usually spot when a celeb is around because of all the paparazzi.

This is the location where they filmed the original Batman movies from way back when. We found this while Matt was knocking off some geocaches.

Since the word is out now I can release these pictures of Matt skydiving. I could only get so close to his drop spot but I was glad I could at least pick him out of a large group jumping.
Here the video link if you haven't seen it yet:

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Get It Now

I've always had a desire to travel and have been so fortunate lately to see many new places. I am so glad that Matt has been on board with me and has also learned how much he loves to travel. For years now I have tried to figure out where this need to "go and see" comes from but I can't narrow it down. I wasn't too deprived as a child. I didn't go many places, but I did go places. My mom did always encourage me to leave Terre Haute and do as much as possible so maybe she can take the credit.
I always remind myself to be very thankful to God for providing the means to travel but our recent trips have made us think there is more to it.
Vacations from this year have not sent us back home feeling rested and rejuvenated but instead we felt very insignificant and small. We felt like we weren't doing anything that mattered. We felt like we have a different purpose in life and we weren't living up to it. Matt can narrow down his moment of realization to this photo. This is when he felt that the world didn't revolve around us and we were just a small piece in the puzzle. I don't really have a defining moment but they have probably been gathering for a year now.

Maybe it's us maturing and growing out of our arrogant 20's but I think this is a good realization and a message I have been missing. All this time I thought that I could go on these trips because I was extremely thankful but now I know that these were not vacations but a test to see if we were getting the message and seeing the bigger picture.....so that is why I say " I Get It Now".

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Forensics in Africa

So some changes have been happening to the Sondgeroths......for a while now really......most of which are too deep to discuss on here. In a nutshell we have a growing inclination to do things differently and for different reasons. Without confusing blog readers too much I will sum it up with something they said in church on Sunday. "Do Something, Say Something".

Here is me "saying something".........

I promise this won't be a geeky boring post about science but rather about an organization I just learned about that is using Forensics to help a country already with great needs. The latest issue of Forensic Magazine had an article in it titled "DNA 4 Africa". This is an organization that is using the power of DNA analysis to help orphaned children find their families, prevent illegal adoptions and child trafficking, and fight sexual violence. In America we have the luxury to have a justice system that will investigate a crime against us, perform scientific analysis, and prosecute the accused. Where poverty is high, crime is high, so I can only imagine the conditions in Africa.
In a country where the people are fighting to survive, the incidence of mass rape is high and the support to fight it was non-existent.
I can only believe that if they begin to bring justice to mass rapists in Africa that this will also help decrease the number of HIV cases and reduce unplanned pregnancies.

If you are looking for a cause to donate to visit this website to learn more:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Best Friend + 1st baby + I love to travel = Trip to Seattle

I went to Seattle over this past weekend to visit my best friend Sara who had her first baby in May. She has lived there for 3 years and this was my first visit out there. We had such a great time together and I miss her already :( They did a great job of showing me around Seattle. It is a well-rounded place that was close to mountains, beach/water, and a big city. One day when Harrison is older I can tell him that Aunt Amanda was on his first hike with him! Needless to say we ate a lot of seafood and visited coffee shops every day which I loved! Thanks for a great visit Sara and Bill!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Arizona Vacation

My work sent me to a conference in Arizona last week so we planned to make a mini-vacation out of it since at least I was going for free. Matt flew to Phoenix at the end of my conference and we headed up to the Grand Canyon. I was so glad to get away from the heat. It reached 114 degrees in Phoenix and the weather in northern Arizona was much more mild.

The Grand Canyon was the first stop and it is as breath-taking as people describe it. We had to make sure to stop several times and just take it all in. It is mind blowing to think of how that was all created way back when.

Our next stop was Monument Valley. This is located on a very large Indian Reservation at the Arizona/ Utah state line. They let you drive your own vehicle on a very rugged red dirt road path that circles around all of the monuments. This was a fun experience while driving around in our Cobalt rental. Matt treated the little car like it was a Jeep, which probably should have been required for some of these roads. (After the whole trip we were pretty sure we were going to have to tell the rental place that the car needed new tires, shocks, and a muffler.)

Our last stop was Sedona and this is by far the most beautiful place I have seen. I wish we would have prepared better for Sedona because there was a lot of hiking available and we only got one day in. The red rock country side is so amazing and spiritual to look at. It is very much a Hippie/New Age town. Many people have claimed to have a spiritual connection with this area and I understand that now. Apparently there are numerous vortexes throughout Sedona which are "high energy hot spots". The energy is masculine or feminine and not always felt by every one. We didn't really understand this concept but we would at least give it a shot. (read below)

Below is Cathedral Monument. This is one of the vortex spots that we hiked. They say there is no defined spot of energy, that it could happen anywhere along this area. We did not experience any energy spots probably because we were distracted by the intensity of this hike. I can officially say this was our first "unexpected" rock climbing experience. There is a trail at the base of this monument that we thought was the trail and that they made us stop at the base of the monument...........nope........ once we saw people at the top we realized you can climb straight up it and that's what we did! It was beautiful once we were at the top but of course the sun decided to come out full force and make the hike harder.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Terre Haute Family Cookout

This last weekend we had my family up for a cookout. Most of them haven't been to our house in almost two years and this seemed like the way to get them up here (all you Hautians reading....don't wait so long next time!!) Our little nephew and little cousin also came up and the boys had a great time running in our backyard. It was a great time with great food and great peeps.


(I hope we all look as great as G-ma when we are older)



Daddy & Son

The Chef

Mommy & Son

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Our vacation to Yellowstone was amazing and even though I have already e-mailed out my 500+ photos I felt this trip deserved a little narrative. We hiked a lot....I was shocked to learn that only 5% of the people who visit Yellowstone actually hike. I guess it's because there is so much to see on the ground level but I think the views from the mountain tops were the best.

Sepulcher Mountain
This is our first hike attempt. I call it an attempt because we weren't sure of the exact mileage starting out and before we reached the top we were already at 5 miles and we had to turn around and still go back 5 miles, so we didn't make it to the top of this one. (Day 1, we were just warming up)

This is a photo of the Grand Tetons which we were lucky enough to have time to drive down to these massive mountains. This park was just south of Yellowstone. We wished we would have allowed more time to hike the Tetons.

Bunsen Peak
This is the view from the top of Bunsen Peak. The elevation on this one was 8500ft. Can you see the itty bitty road with the parking lot.....that's where we started from.
Mt. Washburn
This hike is one of the most popular because it has an active fire tower at the top. It was 10, 200 ft.
Our tallest and most strenuous hike was Avalanche Peak which was 10,566 ft and straight up the mountain. It was very cloudy on that day and the pics weren't great enough to share but at least I can say we did it!
Yellowstone has it's own version of the Grand Canyon running through it with a huge waterfall. I could have stood here all day and watched it. This photo is used on many of the post cards for the park.

Also there are hot springs and geysers all over the place but here are just a few pics.

We saw an abundance of Bison and Elk. It was so nice to watch the animals in their natural habitat and not think of humans as their predators. I felt like we were just visiting in their world and as long as we kept our distance they didn't care. We also saw black bears, grizzlies, and a couple of wolves trying to attack the Bison.

We feel like we conquered Yellowstone and drove every square inch of it so we are glad to have this one down in our memories.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Built with Love

I came home from shopping and lunch with some girlfriends today and Matt said "I built you something". I now have a cute little flower box on our shed! It' s the little things in life that make me smile! Now I just need to think of some other things before the "handyman" wears off :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Spring Project

Over the past two weekends we have been building a shed together. I'm sure our neighbors were thinking. "What the hell are those kids up to now?" One asked if we were building a boat house but I'm sure they were happy to see that we weren't "letting the neighborhood go". We've been wanting to do this for a while to clear some room in the garage. We had the perfect spot that we never utilized outside of our fence by the pond so it doesn't take away from our yard space. In 2 days we had the whole structure up and the 1st coat of paint on. I was a painting fool because we were racing against the rain. Now it is completely done and someone can't stop admiring his work. I am amazed at how fast we built this but it has been easier than our previous projects. It is an 8 x 12 and according to Matt we saved about $1500 by doing it ourselves so I'm satisfied.

The Man Cave

We are probably done with projects for this year because our summer trips are going to suck some money out of us. We leave for Yellowstone in 5 weeks and I can't wait to detach from society and explore a beautiful place with my favorite person!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Master Bath Remodel

So after 8 weeks we are done with our bathroom remodel. This has been our winter project and one heck of a learning experience. We gutted the whole bathroom, which only took 2 hours between the two of us. So now we have tile floors, a tile shower, new vanity and fixtures, double sinks and a glass shower door. I can take credit for the design and labor but Matt did all the great tile work and plumbing which was the tedious stuff. I'm so glad we can work well together in such a small space :)


After Before After Before After Before



Recently we needed a break from our construction zone so we went hiking to Whitewater State Park near Richmond, IN. Since Cody has been such a good sport with us taking over his "bedroom" during the remodel we wanted to spend some QT with him so he got to go hiking too.
Cody and Me after lunchtime.
My teddy bear being lazy while we slave away in the bathroom.