Monday, August 19, 2013

Are We There Yet?

While this question wasn’t really asked, since our children are used to long drives, the 1,754 mile drive from Colorado to North Carolina this past week was quite long.   I already knew the answer to this question, and was still thinking it from time to time. 

We started our school year this week – excitement mingled with dread, you know, but to this little guy, it was all excitement!

FIrst day of K5

Then on the way through Kansas, we stopped overnight and visited with our friends, the Heinz family.  Marlene works at a local quilt shop, and she took me for a brief visit.  Over 5,000 bolts of fabric – anybody feeling covetous (other than me, of course)?

Quilt Shop

Then, on through St Louis, in the dreadful rush hour traffic.  Always enjoy seeing the arch as we pass through the city.

St Louis Arch

As usual, there were a lot of miles that were boring…  I spent a good deal of time reading a book I picked up at a thrift store earlier this summer.  Spent a great deal of time wondering how long it would be before I could get out of the truck and stretch my legs.  This was the best I could do in the mean time.

Long Drive

We arrived in NC around 1:30 a.m. Friday morning.  It was so good to be back in this area.  There is a sense of coming home when we are able to visit.  We do love this area, and look forward to visiting our friends as well as ministering in two churches and our alma mater in the coming two weeks.

Monday, August 12, 2013

School Days on the Road

Life always gets a little more complicated once school begins each year.  This year may well be our most challenging yet, with four munchkins in the magic school bus RV.  Junior high, fourth, second, and kindergarten are on the menu.  I am already overwhelmed, and we have just started!

I guess the two biggest obstacles are space in the trailer (we have the nicest school room back in MS, but we aren’t there much), and time.  Right now, we are doing a lot of traveling, and the travel days are broken up into smaller drives so that we can get all of our school work done each day.  Consequently, it takes us longer to get from point A to point B during the school year, and the pressure on the kids is lot more - “Hurry up, we have to drive 350 miles this afternoon, and we cannot leave until you finish your homework!”

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Paul is helping teach this year, taking Josiah’s education in hand.  That way, I can focus on the very important foundational teaching for Daniel, Esther, and Abigail.   I am relieved to not have the burden of the upper grades on me this year.  This is preparation for college, you know!  Papers, pop quizzes, reports…

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So this is what my entryway looks like now.  Three crates of school books, and more in a drawer behind the stacked pink crates.  I’ve already whacked my bare toes on the edge of the blue crate while walking through the living room.  Ouch!!!   I guess I will have to walk more circumspectly!   :)

I know we will learn a lot of things this year, and I look forward to having a good academic year.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Way Out West

As we travel, we have the opportunity to see a lot of different things and meet people who give a whole new perspective to life.  For instance:  You know you are way out west when…

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…the church uses cowboy hats for offering plates!  :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Twelve

One whole dozen.  Many things come in dozens – eggs, doughnuts, disciples, months… but not years.  They come slowly, one day at a time, slipping past like so many jewels on a string.  Drops of water that run continuously, forming a large stream, small things that turn into larger things.

12 years.

4,383 days.

105,192 hours.

6,311,520 minutes.

378,691,200 seconds.

That’s how long I have had the privilege of knowing this little man.  This miracle of life known as my son.  My precious child.  The baby I loved from before the first time I saw him.  Josiah, my firstborn.

These are a few pictures of the birthday boy.  His life began before I had a digital camera, so the first several years will be omitted in this pictorial history.  Suffice it to say, he has always been a cutie!

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Over the years, he just continues to amaze me with his humor, sweet spirit, and tender heart.

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Cute as can be…

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He’s a great big brother.

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All boy – not afraid to get down and dirty (or wet).

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Loves to have fun with the family.

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Never ceases to make me laugh at his antics!

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Oldest child born of two oldest children (think about that for a while).

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Enjoys making bunny ears on his siblings…  :)

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Finds a solution.

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Thinker.

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Adventurous.

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Good example (most of the time) to his younger brother.

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Always ready to laugh!

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Standing on the brink of life, just waiting to see what will happen next!

It scares me to death to have a child on the brink of adolescence, with the infamous teenage years just around the corner.  Where has all the time gone?  More and more I understand why God compares our life to a vapor – here for a moment, and then gone.  It really does seem to pass in the blink of an eye!

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All that to say this: I love you, Josiah.  You make me so proud and happy!  I am so thankful for the privilege to be your mother.  Have a wonderful birthday!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Yellowstone Adventure–Day 2

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Small waterfall in Yellowstone

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Mammoth Hot Springs

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I thought this looked strange – all the colored travertine made from the mineral deposits over the years.  It is constantly changing, and growing, which makes it really neat.

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Boardwalk through the hot springs and mud volcanoes.  Signs everywhere warned against getting off the boardwalk, lest you fall through the thin crust of the earth and be literally boiled alive.  Okay – I was a little nervous  as my kids ran headlong down the walk.  Breathed a sigh of relief when we were out of that part!

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This looks like a winterscape, but it is actually a tree in a field of travertine that has, over time, been sucked up into the tree’s system, and has hardened it with minerals until the tree is practically petrified.  These trees can stand like this for years, even though they are dead.  Amazing!

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Picnic lunch at the park.  Notice the bear-proof trash cans in the background.

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The kids got a real kick out of this magpie who found a grape that someone dropped in the picnic area.  it does sort of remind one of a pig with an apple in its mouth!

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Along the Blacktail Drive – it was lovely!

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We just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dip our tootsies in the chilly waters of Lake Yellowstone!

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Some people {ahem} threw rocks instead of wading.

We really had a good time together, just driving around the massive park and looking at all the beautiful things God has created.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Yellowstone Adventure– Day 1

Having had a few days between meetings, we decided to take a vacation.  As Paul and I planned this, we realized that it would be the first time we have ever taken a family vacation.  Granted, we have taken time to do some museums and local sight-seeing when the opportunity arises, but these trips are always scheduled around our meetings for the week.  Usually our time off consists of staying at home, getting ready for the next trip.  The typical evangelist has no income when he is not in meetings, so vacations just aren’t in the budget.  Besides, with all the traveling we normally do, getting in the truck to drive somewhere is not on our list of things we really want to do.

However, Yellowstone was calling.  We were only a few hours away, and had nearly a week of time. We took the plunge.  Paul and I both wanted to see the park, and the kids were excited too.  We knew there were so many things to see, and beautiful vistas to enjoy, so I made sure to take the camera.  We were not disappointed.  I did not realize how HUGE Yellowstone National Park is!  We ended up taking two days just to see the main attractions at the park, and another day to visit the Grand Teton park that butts up to the southern side of Yellowstone.  Here are some of the things we saw.

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Entrance to the park

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Sylvan Lake

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Josiah at the scenic overlook.  Many of the trees behind him were killed in the forest fires several years ago, hence the lack of foilage.

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Overlooking Lake Yellowstone

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Bison grazing in the meadow

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Beautiful rolling hills

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The Upper Falls – over 100 feet tall

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Munchkins on the trail

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A beautiful day, blue skies and puffy clouds

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The Lower Falls, over 300 feet tall – notice the rainbow?

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At the Lower falls

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Did I mention the 344 steps we had to climb to see the Lower Falls?

Some of us almost didn’t make it back up to the trail!

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Observation deck at the Upper Falls

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Hot springs – the water is crystal blue, but the surrounding ground is covered in mineral deposits.  There was also a pervading aroma of sulphur.  Ick!

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Geysers

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Waiting for Old Faithful to erupt

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There she blows!  We saw a great eruption of about 100 feet!  It was worth the wait… I think. :)

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Ready to head home after a long day.  Guess who forgot to put on sunscreen?

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Afternoon sun over Lake Yellowstone

When we finally got back to Wapiti (pronounced Woppity) where we were staying, we were exhausted.  All the hiking and driving had worn us out entirely!  We headed to bed, tired but satisfied with our first day at Yellowstone.

To be continued…