Saturday, June 15, 2013

Meemom, Monumental Moments, Milestones, and Making Memories!

It's been a wonderful week!  Meemom arrived here in Mossyrock on Monday, after attending our niece Cassidy's graduation in Oregon over the weekend.  We have enjoyed visiting some each day, and seeing life back at her house across the street!  We love that! 

On Thursday, we all had a wonderful time visiting with Lydia all day as part of her 18th birthday celebration!   We all loaded up into the van, went and picked her and some lattes up, and then spent the rest of the day hanging-out together here at the house.  Then, that evening, we had a special time with friends and family, enjoying a BBQ dinner feast, and Costco chocolate cake with the Tevis' homemade, and I mean straight-from-their-dairy-cow, ice-cream!
 The birthday gift-giving began early with colorings and love notes from Timmy and Joe!

 The "twins" . . . separated by 10 years!
 Another milestone happening this week . . .
this special couple's 1st wedding anniversary! 
June 16, 2013!!! 
Aren't they cute as ever?
And they are just as delightful! 
Love them sooooo much!!!
 We were very blessed to have dear friends, Ron and Becky Jacobson, join us for the party.
This following photo happened all because Becky thought of it, organized us all, and snapped it! 
And I'm soooooo thankful for it!!!
I just wish we could have had Becky in it, too!!!
Her sweet husband Ron is the goofball one in between Meemom and Valerie.  
And Janet and Rich Tevis, awesome mom and dad of Richie, on each end.
The beautiful birthday girl! 
After dinner and cake, we had a lot of fun telling stories and laughing away our full stomachs.

The birthday gift her hubby got for her! : -)
Then, yesterday, we left early for Brielle's 4 month check-up! 
She is doing very well,
and is becoming quite interactive!
She smiles and giggles lots,
and is already trying to out-talk everyone! : -)
She is such a sweetheart! 

We also picked up Joe's new glasses!
Doesn't he look very handsome in them?
He does indeed remind me of another little Bowes boy!
(See Kyle's blog! : -)

 We found out that Joe is severely far-sighted.
And it is very important for us to patch his right eye at least 3+ hours a day to strengthen his left eye,
which can hardly see at all! 
And today, Saturday, is yet another goat delivery day!
Victoria and Caroline have worked so hard building their Boer goat business,
that their goat kids are going all over the country this year! 
They are meeting some folks again today,
about 3 hours from here, to help get him on his way to his new home in Idaho. (I think ;-)
And of course, you've probably seen on Kyle's blog about HIS huge milestone this week!
Buying his first car! 
He has been working lots too,
with his job at the Mayfield Youth Camp and starting up his landscaping business!
He is rarely home anymore! :-( 
Ah, I'm still adjusting to this new season of life,
with my older set of children going in so many different directions!
But I am so proud of all of them! 
And lastly,
Ted, Valerie, Timmy, Joe, and Annie the lab puppy,
all went to the beach today for the start of our family's Father's Day festivities!
Ted LOVES the beach, searching for critters, and being with his kids!
So this is a perfect start to Father's Day weekend!   
Valerie has the camera along,
so hopefully, we'll have some pictures to share at the end of the day!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thankful and Busy!

We are all so very thankful to be safely back home!!   Thank you all so much for your prayers, and for following along here on the blog!  It was fun to share everything with you! 

We arrived home around 4pm on Sunday afternoon.  After saying hello to all the animals, and unloading a few things, we were so blessed to have Lydia and Richie come by for a visit!  It was sooooooooooooo good to see them!!!  We missed them so much!  And what a fabulous job they did taking care of everything for us while we were away!  Everybody and everything looked great!

Monday morning, we "hit the ground running" so-to-speak with a few of us leaving the house around 7am for 3 appointments.  Victoria and Valerie had eye exams for their contact-wearing process and Brielle had a quick check-up.  Then, we headed to Costco to re-stock our pantry, refrigerators, and freezers, and on our way home, we picked up a mama goat with her baby that was born while we were away, and Anna, the princess canine, from the Smith's.   I think we arrived back at home around 3pm, or so, just in time to get Timmy to his baseball practice!

Tuesday, we all spent most of the day detailing the camper and trailer.  It felt good to get everything unloaded, put away, cleaned up, tanks emptied, and trailer returned to the Holborn's that night.  We also made much progress on our huge mound of laundry, and Ted had to rescue Victoria and Caroline on I-5 that afternoon with a bad tire on their horse trailer.  It took quite a while, as they decided all the tires on the trailer should be replaced.  (All with a trailer full of goats. : -)  

Wednesday, we spent the day getting the house back in order, and then welcomed Brielle's social worker for Brielle's monthly health-and-safety-check at noon.   This usually takes about an hour.  Then, off to Timmy's baseball practice, and I enjoyed going to DeGoede's to shop for some new flowers using my Mother's Day gift certificate! : -)

Thursday, Joseph, Brielle and I left around 7:30am for Tacoma.  Joseph was referred to a pediatric eye specialist for severe far-sightedness.   (The severity was quite shocking.  However, on-the-other-hand, not so surprising, as this makes all 5 of our babies born at 32 weeks needing corrective eye treatments.)  It is always an "interesting experience" driving up to Tacoma and in that medical area in particular, and the appointment took about 1 1/2 hours.  Then, we went to Costco to order his glasses, ran a couple errands, and got home just in time to turn around to go back out-town for Timmy's second-to-last ball game.

And then, today, we have Timmy's last baseball game this evening! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 25 - Part 2 - Blessings!

Ah, we're so close to home!
 We love our home,
rain and all. : -)
"I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD,
the deeds for which he is to be praised,
according to all the LORD has done for us . . "
Isaiah 63:7a
We have soooooo much to praise and thank our Lord for!
These are many of the things that He has done for
us before and during this trip of a lifetime!

So many of you, our friends and family, praying for us before and all during our trip!!!  Thank you!!!  Our Lord answered your prayers in so many wonderful ways! 
Ted was blessed to be able to get 3 weeks off of work.
Lydia and Richie were able and willing, and sacrificially took care of our animals twice a day!   And they also looked after many other things while we were away.   What an incredible labor of love and HUGE blessing.  We couldn't have done this without all their help! 
The Holborn’s generously offered us the use of their trailer.  It has been awesome!  It made our trip possible, and pleasant!  : -) 
The Smith’s kindly offered to take Anna to their house and give her lots of TLC!   They even sent us pictures and a video, so we could see her while we were away.
Some very Dear Loved Ones surprised and blessed us tremendously with a very generous check for use on our trip.   We were sooo very blessed by this!  
The social workers and a judge were willing to give us consent to take Brielle all the way to the east coast. 
Our beloved Michigan family was soooo hospitable to accommodate us and feed us for a few days.   We were sooo blessed that most all of them in that big, busy, wonderful family were able to come up to visit with us!   This was truly a major highlight of our trip!
We have all stayed healthy other than a little stomach virus, that only affected 3 out of 10 of us!  That is amazing, considering we have been sharing such close quarters, water bottles, etc.  and have been in many public places with masses of humanity!
Our truck has performed its big job flawlessly with camper on top and pulling the trailer for a total of 7,530 miles!!! 
No accidents, tickets, or running out of gas. : -)  (The latter, even in spite of a broken gas gauge, and quite variable MPG with hills, wind, etc.)
Both issues that came up with our rig were noticed before they became serious problems.   And we were able to get them fixed the next day in 3 hours.  The repair shop fit us in right when they opened at 9am and we were on the road again by noon!
The weather was good for most of the trip, and the couple of days it was inclement, we didn’t have any problems because of it!
Because of Ted’s connections with the upper level Walmart management, we were able to stay 10+ free nights in their parking lots . . . okay, they do this for everyone!  : -)  This was such a blessing, both in savings and convenience!
Many people along the way were soooo kind to our big, colorful family!  (ie:  The ticket lady at Plimoth Plantation gave us a huge discount on our tickets . . .  just because.  : -)
We were able to get substantial discounts in other places with our home school  “group.”
Running into many brothers and sisters in the Lord along the way, and having delightful times of fellowship here and there, wherever we were.  One man wanted to take a picture of his new-found family : -), and we even prayed together with some sweet ladies in the Union Station McDonald’s!  These providential meetings always brightened our days!
Ending our official sightseeing/history tour with a refreshing stop at the Biblically-based Creation Museum.    This was soooo encouraging to us!!!
25 Days . . .  four 16 year-olds, two active grade-school boys, a lively two-year-old, a 3 month old, and two very imperfect, aging parents . . .yet 10 loving, thriving relationships!!!!
All praise and glory to our Heavenly Father,
from whom all blessings flow!

Day 25 - Last Day on the Road!

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This Sunday morning, we are hitting the road early,
one last time,
for our final stretch home. 
We are sooooo thankful to the Lord for all He has done and blessed us with on this trip!
I'm working on making a list of all those blessings, so we won't ever forget!!! 
"Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!"
In the meantime,
I've had a request to show how all 10 of us have been sleeping. : -)
It looks like this . . .
Caroline makes the trailer dinnette into her bed every night.  

Timmy has enjoyed sleeping on the trailer sofa.  

 Benjamin has a "special bed" on the floor of the trailer right beside our bed.
Of course, sometimes he ends up in our bed.
Brielle has the trailer shower for her cozy little bedroom.
Okay, now for the campers in the camper . . .
Joe loves the bunk bed,
and only fell out of it once! : -)
While Valerie listens to him snore each night in the dinnette below. :-(

 The Giant has the big bed to himself.
 Victoria actually chose the mat on the floor of the camper.
 So, here's the overall picture of the four campers in the camper. . .

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 24 - Update!

Looks like we'll make our planned destination (Missoula) by around 9:30pm tonight!  Woo hoo!  That only leaves about a 10 hour day tomorrow! : -)  The weather has been great all day.  We are soooo ready to be home!!!!!!

A Few More Pictures

Sweet sisters on the walk back to our camper from Historic Philadelphia.
 Valerie surrounded by "her color",
in Washington, D.C.
 The MOST COMMON sight on our sightseeing tour . . .  
Brielle gettin' some lovin'!!
 Timmy and Joe enjoying the awesome pool at the Washington, D.C. campground!
 Sight we just saw at the Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.
 Taking a quick break from our travels to get a treat!
The boys decided on A & W root beer floats!

Day 24 - Day Before Home Sweet Home!

We had another good day of travel yesterday.  We left the rest area, that was just shy of Peoria, Illinois, around 5:30am and pulled into another rest area around 9:30pm.  We cut our planned itinerary a bit short again, as the weather was quite inclement and it would have been close to 11pm if we had tried to make it all the way to Bismarck.  

Today, we're making good time, having left early again this morning.  We have traveled through North Dakota, and are now making our way through Montana!

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