Day #2 of our trip out west, about two hours in, and this was what our GPS said. 540 miles, 8 hours of driving, before the first turn of the day. Literally. The road was basically just one straight line that last day. Iowa and South Dakota may be pretty, but they are also pretty boring!
See what I mean? Even the kids slept through Iowa.
The trip out took two full, long days. It is 26 hours driving – no stops, no kids, no traffic, no construction… no way around it. The first day, we got stuck in construction in Illinois and stopped for the night around 10pm in Iowa, literally moments before the torrential rain hit. The cities in Iowa where we were at all flooded that night, but we still made it out just fine in the morning. The second day was almost as long, but thanks to the time change we got in around 8pm (MST). We were wiped, but thankful to be there and done driving.
Saturday afternoon and evening we spent with Brian’s parents, one of his brothers and his fiancee, a nephew, and the fiancee’s brother and sister. We visited a popular drive-through animal park which the kids LOVED (even though it was more driving!):
The elk was licking E’s window. They said “up close and personal” and meant it!
Sunday morning, I joined a meeting at the church we attend out there while they planned for their fall children’s ministry. I was able to give them additional options for their curriculum and hopefully it was helpful! It’s always fun collaborating on children’s ministry.
During the week, we were able to spend time with good friends and Brian’s family. Our birthday was that Thursday and we spent it in one of the best ways possible: at our friend’s house with their four children.
When we were first married and living in South Dakota, Clay and Miranda (above, with their youngest) were our closest friends. We did everything together, spent every spare moment together, and basically lived in each other’s houses. When we decided to move to Peru, it was a toss-up what was harder: leaving Miranda or leaving my mom. Coming back to visit is always refreshing and this time did not disappoint. It was like walking through a time warp as they are now officially settled in their home (they’ve been working on buying land and moving out of town since they got married 10 years ago) and have a nice little farm and four kids. It felt just like old times, except we’re all the old ones now! Their dog even did what he’s always done – fell asleep on the recliner next to Brian – except now, Bruno is old and gray and not a puppy! Amazing how time marches on even when you’re not around to witness it. The best, though, was seeing our kids get along and play (loudly) the entire time we were there. Seven kids – 5 boys and 2 girls – between our two families and it was an absolute blast.
The main reason we went out to SD this time was to be there for the wedding of one of Brian’s brothers, Scott. Sunday afternoon, the 21st, we celebrated with Scott and Christine as they got married:
Bride & Groom with all the nieces & nephews (minus BabyJ who was sound asleep)
It was a very pretty wedding and we’re glad we got to be there for it!
We were able to purchase a van the week before we left for SD, which was a huge answer to prayer.
However, it had a few issues and as we drove cross-country, they became more apparent. Brian ended up taking it to the dealer early in the week to get it fixed. Naturally, they didn’t fix it. He took it back on Thursday hoping it would get fixed Friday or Saturday, but working with a dealer is… fun… and they not only did not do the work, they didn’t even order the part they needed. So, instead of leaving Monday morning as planned, we had to leave Wednesday morning since they finished working on the van Tuesday evening. We figured there had to be more of a purpose behind us being delayed a few days than just the van needing to be fixed and we were right. Monday, the kids were able to spend some really good quality time with their uncle who’s a police officer and doesn’t get many days off. Then Tuesday, E woke up very sick and we couldn’t have traveled anyway with how sick she was all day. And Tuesday evening, we got to spend a good amount of time with Scott, Christine, and their two kids – something we hadn’t gotten to do before the wedding. So, leaving Wednesday was definitely a good thing.
Coming home was much harder than going out. Time changes are awful. We took three days instead of two and… ugh… they were long. We couldn’t find a motel the first night and ended up in one that was… lacking. Let’s just leave it there. We kept reminding ourselves it was better than sleeping in the car. We planned ahead for the second day and gave ourselves a goal of how far to get. Brian found an amazing online deal and we got a way nicer hotel with a pool for cheaper than we paid for the miserable place we stayed at the first night. We got in late and just prayed the pool would still be open for the kids since we had promised it ALL day long and they NEEDED to do something! And yes, it was open! And there were two! We took the kids outdoors and let them swim for about an hour. It was so nice.
The last day of traveling was by far the worst as BabyJ decided his carseat was the worst possible place to be and he shrieked and screamed for the better part of our six hour trip.
Oh the misery. For everyone. Home never looked so sweet. Unfortunately, now pretty much every time he gets put in his seat, this is his reaction. Not cool.
Saturday was school shopping day. We went from having plenty of time to get ready for school to having zero time thanks to getting back later than planned! I spent the day with E getting all she needed. It was a really nice day together.
And now today, we shipped her off to first grade!
This is the face of a super excited almost 6yr old. She got in the car this afternoon and said, “This was the best day ever!” She is anxious to get moving on learning and thought it was hilarious that mom and dad have “homework” each night (though she doesn’t understand yet that our “homework” is making sure she does her real homework! ha!).
Being gone for two weeks definitely did not lessen our work load. If anything, our work load has probably tripled in our absences, but we’ll make it! Coming up this month:
- I begin the fall kids’ programs at church
- I have an article to write for BCM World
- I begin doing preschool with BigJ at least 2-3 days a week
- Brian has piles of internet work to do for BCM, including the next BCM World
- Brian needs to repair at least one or two roofs at MRF before it gets too cold
- We head to VT the end of the month to share about our ministries
Pray for us. It’s just overwhelming to return home to piles of work, especially when most of it has deadlines fast approaching.
A picture of us since normally I inundate you with the cuter members of our family!