Monday, March 28, 2011

All dressed up and we can't get out.

This was our dilemma yesterday.  We got all dressed up, loaded everything into the car.  We were able to back it up a little bit, but then got stuck.  Scott tried digging us out, but we weren't going anywhere.  It didn't help that we had a donut tire on from Thursday.  We should hopefully be getting a real tire tomorrow.  Scott called around and there were others in the same situation.  It's now Monday night and the wind has started to die down a bit.  Scott tried to dig around the van a bit, but it's so heavy and there's at least 4 feet to dig through. Our neighbor said that he should be able to come sometime tomorrow.  That will help tremendously, especially since our propane is down to 8% and we're waiting on a delivery. They need to be able to get around to the back of the house to put it in.  I'm praying that God will keep the propane up like the widow's oil in the Bible. I know He can do it and trust that He'll be with us no matter what.  You might be wondering what we did for church yesterday. Well, we went to Pinecrest:).  No, we didn't drive all the way back to Georgia.  We watched it online:).  We were able to watch Pastor Mack preach the last sermon of the series we heard while we were there.  So thankful for technology.  Yes, Scott could have preached to us, but it was nice to sit together once again and listen to the preaching as a family.  Elyssia asked if we could "go" to Grandma's church again next week.  I told her that we can watch the Sunday evening sermon, because it's on at 4, but we wouldn't be staying home on purpose.  We're really looking forward to being with our church family again!  Here are a couple pics of the kids all dressed up for church:
Getting their shoes polished.


The young man takes his polishing job very seriously!

The girl with their dolls.

They had their dolls dressed up "fancy".

Kiersten is out of her crib now.

"Just me, Mama."

The girls have been sharing a bed for all of vacation and Kiersten doesn't like going to be without her sister anymore.  She tried climbing out of her crib and fell yesterday so we decided to put away the crib.  She really couldn't sleep on the top bunk, so Elyssia said that we should take it off.  She doesn't like having to sleep in the crib with baby and it was hard to sleep in the bottom bunk without bonking her head.  We cleaned the room up afterwards and the girls LOVE it!  There is so much room now.  My goal is NOT to fill it up:).  I'd like to get some curtains up sometime soon and Elyssia requested that we paint their room like Cameryn's and Caleigh's in Georgia.  We'll see.  It's nice to see how close the cousins got during our visit. Thanks to Skype they can continue talking even when we're far apart.
  This morning we got back on schedule with school, etc... We started the day off with a pancake breakfast and due to dwindling bread supplies Scott asked if he could bake more bread,  Tonight we had beef au jus sandwiches.  They were quite good and although Garrison was skeptical at first he quickly decided that it was really good.  We'll probably use the leftovers to make a stew tomorrow.
  The grandparents and Uncle have delayed their trip a bit, due to the weather.  They're hoping to come tomorrow, but it will depend on the weather. 
  We also started reading Tom Sawyer to the kids.  We'd told them a bit before our trip to Hannibal, but figured we would read the book when we got home.  So far they think it's pretty interesting.  I hadn't read it in quite some time and didn't remember Tom being such a rascal. 
  I should be taking more pictures of devotions each evening, but there's been so much to remember that I got out of the habit.  Maybe tonight...
  Today I heard something very pleasant.  We were sitting at the supper table and Elyssia said, "Yay, we have dirty dishes to wash!"  Garrison said, "what about me, I want to be the fisher!" The one that uses the tongs to fish them out of the hot rinse water.  Those two happily washed the dishes tonight and everybody seemed more than happy to help with their jurisdictions(places and jobs that they keep clean in order to help their family.).  We've been working more with each of them and showing them how the house runs smoothly and there is more joy when the cleaning load isn't all put on 1 or 2 people.   It may get done slower or with a little more water mess, but the long term rewards are priceless:).
  Tonight I also heard the older two children discussing more siblings.  Garrison said, "First mommy can have 2 boys and then she can have two girls."  Elyssia said, "maybe a girl and then a boy."  Then Garrison said, "Maybe 3 girls and 3 boys, then we'll have 12 people in our family.  Where did this boy learn to add. He was telling me that 6 plus 6 was 12 today, but figuring it out to add the 6 in our family and 3 plus 3 to add up to 12 is pretty amazing for a 4 year old.  So, we shall see what comes in the days ahead.  I told them that the decision of boys or girl is up to the Lord, so we can be happy either way.  We do prefer to not have them 3 at a time though:).
  That about wraps things up for now.  Signing off from a cold country praying for Spring!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

How did we get missed???

  There was Spring type weather all the way from Georgia up to about an hour from the Canadian border.  Somehow we seem to have missed the memo that it's Spring.  There is more snow here than when we left.  It's up as high as 6 feet behind the house.  Elyssia's playhouse is getting harder and harder to see.  I'm not sure how quickly it will melt, but I'm thinking that we might have a lot of work in store for us.  I long for Spring, but not the muddy messy part of it:).  I'm at the point where I'm going to be thankful to see the grass again though and will gladly accept the mud along with it. We might need to shove some snow away from the house to avoid flooding when it does melt.  So much to think about and do.  The last of 4 loads of laundry is in the dryer.  The enchiladas for tomorrow's potluck is in the fridge.  There are fresh cookies and the cake has been ordered, thanks to the kindness of a lady in our church.  Tomorrow is the 2nd Anniversary of our church! So excited and praying that the roads will be clear enough for us to get there and back safely tomorrow.  We have an appt. on Monday to have the tire put on the van and get some groceries.  I'm thankful that we picked up milk and eggs on the way home.  We haven't gone out since arriving and I've already used quite a bit of milk and one of the cartons of eggs:).  What can I say, there's a hungry crew living here.
  Tonight's post may seem a bit boring compared to the past couple weeks, but such is life.  Coming back from vacation and adjusting to normal living again.  When I start to miss my family, the Lord reminds me of those lost in the Tsunami.  When I'm tempted to complain about the snow, the Lord reminds me of the destruction in Japan.  A little water in the house, if it comes, will be nothing compared to seeing you house and family washed out to sea.  We're praising the Lord tonight in our little house here on the prairies.  Thankful for the time away and the safe travels home. Looking forward to fellowship in HIS House tomorrow!  Good night y'all.  Couldn't resist:).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Travel posts...

You'll have to travel back a bit in my blog to go through our trip home in the right order.  I wasn't quite sure how I should put it. I'm sure you can figure it out though.  Hope you enjoy all the pics. I ended up taking over 950 pics on vacation.  I'm sure you'll be happy to know that I didn't post ALL of them:).Have a great weekend everyone!

Caleb's 3rd Birthday!

Thursday was the day we we hoped to get home.  We headed to Williston on Wednesday, but the weather and the roads made the going hard. We didn't make a reservation in Williston, N. Dakota because we really weren't sure whether we'd be able to make it all the way there.  We persevered and arrived around 8 only to find that there were no rooms to be found.  NONE.  I was reminded about how there was no room in the inn when Joseph and Mary needed one, but knew that we couldn't exactly stay in the car overnight with 4 little ones.  The temp outside was -10 and falling.  We could keep the engine on all night, but knew that we shouldn't give up so easily. I just kept praying that we would find something.  I tried calling the Baptist Church in town, but no one answered.  Scott decided that we should drive over there after checking with the police and fire station for help.  They had nothing to offer.  Scott was able to get the Pastor's phone number and they kindly allowed us to stay in the church nursery.  It turned out to be the kids favorite "motel".  We were able to fellowship with the pastor and his wife the next day and drove away thanking the Lord for providing for us and giving us new friends.  It was a testimony to the kids of how the Lord looks out for us, even when we can't see how.  We were informed that Williston is in a constant "no vacancy" state.  At least we know for next time...  I have a couple pics, but I'll just save them for another time when I need some pics:).  We crossed the border into Canada with no trouble.  We drove through quite a lot of icy roads and persevered all the way to Kindersley.  We stopped for milk and headed over to get gas before driving home. I heard a funny sound, but we figured it was ice build up.  Scott went to knock it off only to discover that we had a flat tire!  That was very unexpected.  A man from our church came over and helped him finish putting on the donut. He also took the tire, since we had very little room to put it in the van.  We drove the rest of the way home. It was very dangerous and we were thankful that we didn't discover the flat tire on that road home.  There were drifts on the road several feet high.  We've NEVER seen the roads this bad, but we're thankful for the Lord's protection.  We're home, most of the car is unpacked. Mrs. Hawkins had warm stew, bread and dessert waiting for us and the kids are settling back in just fine.  We've heard that the weather is supposed to remain cold and blustery over the next month, so only time will tell whether we get a spring or not.  Scott's parents and brother were supposed to be coming next week.  Hopefully the weather will get nicer and that will be possible.  Looking forward to seeing our church family again very soon and celebrating our church's 2nd anniversary this Sunday.  Thank you Lord for a wonderful vacation and for allowing us to make the trip home safely!

Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse

There was so much to see around here and I took quite a few pictures, but I'll just post a couple for the sake of time.  It's a lot of posting when you have a week of travels to catch up on!

Not the greatest picture, definitely off center, but I haven't checked all of them for the best one yet.

The two older kids picked a bag of rocks as their souvenirs.

Look what I found, and at just the right price too!:)

A model of what the mountain is supposed to look like when it's done.

What it looks like right now.

The museum had quite an amazing collection.  Some very beautiful displays and some very strange, as well.

I wonder how long it took them to make this one.

Elyssia loved the tepee.

I would have enjoyed taking more time to look at the pottery, but the others were waiting.

Rapid City, S. Dakota

The drive was long, but the weather was gorgeous!  Along the way we enjoyed laughing at the Wall Drug signs.  I never thought I'd actually find the place and get my free bumper sticker, but we just happened to be passing it on the way to Rapid City:).  We had about an hour there, thanks to the time change. Just enough time for a bathroom break, some ice cream, free donuts, some souveniers and free ice water, of course!  I have to say that the water wasn't icy. SO disappointing:))).  Kiersten LOVED the donuts and they became a staple for her the next two days.  More of a cake donut, with just a hint of sweetness.
Kiersten enjoying her free ice water.

Another hidden treasure. Look it up.  It's quite amazing!

Caleb thought this guy could use some new shoes:).

Too curious to eat all his ice cream.

What we found after a long restless night.
  Rapid City brought the weather change that we'd kinda been expecting.  It was well below freexing that night and we got to sleep earlier than usual, which proved to be a blessing later on.  Garrison woke up from a very bad dream about spiders and couldn't fall asleep for the next 3 hours, which meant we weren't sleeping well either.

"No"braska or "Yes" braska?

Proof that we were in Kansas:)

Sioux Falls

Not the best, but perhaps I can try to paint it sometime.

This is just the part that we saw.  We could only drive into a certain part.  The rest was walking only.
Caleb and Garrison were arguing over which one it was:).  We explained to them that it was "Ne"braska, but it was very amusing.  We stayed in Omaha, Nebraska, then headed back into Missouri.  We continued on our way, til we reached Sioux Falls, S. Dakota.  It was pretty cold, so we stopped for lunch at the mall and let the kids play in the play place, instead of the picnic we were planning at the Falls.  We drove to the Falls and took some pictures, but it was super cold and we didn't stay long.  Maybe we can go back sometime when it's warmer:). 

Day Three-Sunday evening

I forgot to mention that we had a lot of trouble finding Andy and Amy's church.  We missed S.S., but they found us and we were able to follow them for main service.  There was also a very kind lady at our motel that gave the kids granola bars, goldfish and some shells that she picked up on her travels in Florida. It was an encouragement to think of that through the rest of a very long day.  We arrived in Hannibal, Missouri on Sunday night.  Hometown of Mark Twain.  The kids favorite part of that stop was the park.  We picked up groceries and had a late picnic supper.  After a good night's sleep we loaded up and headed out to explore.  First stop: oil change?  Yes, and one of the best experiences along the way.  We pulled up, drove in and talked to one of the guys while they were doing it.  It was a good experience for the kids and they enjoyed seeing the mechanic's head pop up from under the floor:).  We then proceeded to the Mark Twain Historical district.  It was a gorgeous day to be outside and I took full advantage of it by wearing flip flops.  As I sit writing this, I'm covered in a blanket and my fingers are ice cold, in spite of the fact that I'm typing rather quickly! We climbed 4 flights of steps to get to the lighthouse.  The view of the Mississippi and trains below was very enjoyable.  Definitely a better option than paying to get into the museum.(free too:).  We walked around town and we were hoping to get an ice cream cone at Becky Thatcher's Ice Cream Parlour, but it didn't seem to be opening at 10, like we'd been told, so we headed out of town, on our way to St. Joseph Missouri. Home of the Pony Express Museum.We took turns taking the kids in.  Less crazy that way.  I was amazed by the variety of things there were to look at and do.There was a movie first, then a cabin set up like the olden days.  Then we proceeded to a special area where the kids could dress up in pioneer clothes.  There were rocking horses, crayons and special molds to make the pictures, etc...
  After leaving St. Joseph, we drove 5 minutes across the border into Kansas.  We bought gas, a magnet and a postcard, took a few pics and headed back into Missouri:).  Call us crazy, but we were trying to set foot in as many states as possible without going out of our way too much.  This one was an easy one.  Here are just a few of the MANY pics I took for this day.\:
She loved it when Scott bounced her on this thing.

Is it just me, or is this kid growing again?

Loving the play time!

My crazy climber Caleb!

She walked away with two new friends and a new favorite park, that takes a couple days to drive to.

The statue of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

Part of the steps we climbed to get to the lighthouse.

Well worth it!

The view of the Mississippi.

Caleb closed Garrison in and pinched his finger, of course.
The Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri.  Well, worth stopping for!
She LOVED this one!
Elyssia liked the log cabin.
Writing her name on the blackboard.
Very well set up for young children.
We should have stopped her last. She was so excited to see what else there was that she just tried the skirt on, then wanted to move on.

One tired little girl.  Click on the pic to see the ladybug near the bottom of her pants:).

Day two-St. Louis!

The drive to St. Louis on Saturday took longer than we expected, but we quickly parked and boarded the riverboat wit about 5 minutes to spare.  The ride up and down the Mississippi was amazing!  The sad point was when we saw a tent/shack city.  There were a few people milling about, reminding us of those in need. 
  The kids wanted to go on a carriage ride, but we quickly said, "no, not this time" when we found out that his discounted price was $40!  We went into the Arch Museum and picked up some postcards.  We were planning to get a lot more postcards along the way and send them, but post offices weren't seen very often and most of them will be sent a bit after we get home. 
  We found the Super 8 in Eureka, Missouri.  We met Andy and Amy for supper at Dennys.  The kids were okay for awhile, but after they got used to our friends, they all wanted to share what we'd been doing on vacation.  At the same time, of course!  Caleb fell out of the booth twice!  Then Kiersten pulled the condiments off the table.  Kinda embarrassing, but bed time was approaching and we bid them goodnight shortly thereafter.  I'm upset with myself for not having the camera at this point.  It was in my pocket most of the time, but I was focused on keeping the kids together and it was raining outside when we left, so I didn't think it was the best idea to have them stop for a picture.  The next day we were at church and Andy wasn't feeling good, so I didn't end up with any from that time either.  I guess that means we'll have to visit them again sometime soon:).  Here are the pics from St. Louis though:

Cracker Barrel(bathroom and snacks-I didn't get to eat a meal there, but enjoyed looking around).

The much anticipated ride!

Walking(riding) aboard.

Kiersten is happy that she snagged my shades and I didn't take them back.

View of our crazy parking area.  We're the blue van with the car top carrier.

Our kids learned to identify the Super 8 and often thought we were stopping mid day because they spotted one:)

I have several pics.  Trying to get that postcard shot.  I'll have to look through them and see which one is best to get a print of.

I think the funniest thing was hearing the kids say, "There's Waffle House, Cracker Barrel, Chick Fil A, Super 8 and other things of the like, instead of McDonalds.  If I'm not mistaken, we saw every license plate, except the much longed after one, Hawaii.  There were quite a few Canadians on the way, but none from Saskatchewan that I remember.  We got some pretty strange looks from people driving by, and it wasn't because of the speed we were driving:).

One last day together...

Enjoying lunch outside.

We're gonna miss Auntie Sara, the boys, and Nathan, of course:).

The puzzle boys!

A quick trip over to Jason and Christina's.  Look what I did!

Scott built some shelves and yes, I did put the food back before we left.

At Judah's testing for his purple belt.  Sorry for the dark picture.  He's in the back.

Tokyo Japanese-this guy was amazing.  The food was REALLY good, minus the sushi:).

Fun times!

Sisters forever!

  It was hard to say goodbye, especially not knowing when we'll have an opportunity to get together again, but I'm very thankful for the time that we were blessed with.  We took Caleigh back with us for one last sleepover.  We wanted to take Cameryn too, but she had to go to Albany to sing, so we said goodbye at the house.  I stayed up til 2am packing and finishing the laundry.  I would have finished it earlier, but we were gone too much.  Friday morning we loaded the van, Scott sealed the grout on mom's floor and we headed out around 11:30. It was such a great time and I'm so thankful that none of the children got hurt while we were there.  The drive to Murfreesborough(sp) was okay, but the kids weren't as cheerful.  Elyssia wanted to stay longer and the motel room was pretty hot most of the night.  After arriving home, I'd gladly trade all the snow for that extra heat, but I shouldn't get ahead of myself.