The last blog…a vacation review

July 26th, 2009

Be sure to check out all of the great pictures:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/74587804@N00/sets/72157620966736930/

Simply put God is good.  It was a near perfect vacation with many wonderful moments and memories.  We did not have any major issues and the minor ones were really minor.  We feel very blessed.  It was magical…the presence of God was obvious.  It was simply glorious.  The kids loved it.  The dogs loved it…and even though we are all adjusting, we like each other better than ever before.  We have an incredible family, and incredible friends.  The trip was meaningful, full of life, encouraging and all that we dreamed it would be.  God is good!

July 21-23

July 26th, 2009

July 21

All day in a conference for Marcus while the kids hung out at the hotel, the pool and in Indy. We had a nice dinner together and the dogs loved being in air conditioning.  The kids did not go too stir crazy as Jessica mixed it up with them.

July 22

Marcus was in a conference all day again. It was very rainy, but it was nice and cool.  Jessica and the kids met a friend to see a movie (the newest Ice Age) and everyone loved it. Another night of great sleep for sure!

July 23

The first half of the day was spent in a conference for Marcus while the kids watched movies and Jessica packed.  After lunch we hit the road to start home.  We did over 12 hours getting all the way to Hays, Kansas! An uneventful and long drive but everyone was great!

July 24

We got up around 6:30 and hit the road just before 8. We drove eager to arrive home and made a stop at a playground where Micah got into a mud puddle trying to help a girl get her shoe. We arrived home right around 1 and were glad to be there. We spent the rest of the day unpacking.

July 15-20 & link to new pictures

July 21st, 2009

Well for lots of reasons we have been behind on the blog, but here is the full update!  Be sure to check out all of our amazing pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/74587804@N00/sets/72157620966736930/

It has been an amazing vacation for sure!  We are blessed with an incredible family!

July 15

We left the lake in NY early in the morning to head for PA.  We arrived near lunch time and got some lunch and got settled into the place we were staying.  We then headed off to the ever important Rita’s Water Ice for some great treats.  We met a youth there from Marcus’ internship church in college.  He works for Apple now (Marcus would like to take credit).  It was a nice visit.  We then went to the large area mall for some fun and a nice walk as well as a grocery store to pick up stuff for a special dinner.  We stopped at the beer outlet to stock up on our favorite micro-brew to take home with us.  We then went to WAWA…the convenience store of all glory!  We got some iced tea to drink and bring home.  We then headed to dinner with some friends from college (Marcus’ friends, one of whom was in the wedding).  It was a very nice dinner and visit, like we had seen each other just a day ago.  We then walked to a local farm to see and feed some farm animals and have some wonderful ice cream!  We were all very tired when that night was over!

July 16

We slept in which was nice.  The kids even slept in a bit.  We loaded up and headed for Ocean City, NJ to the shore to have some time at the beach.  It would be the first time the kids had ever seen the ocean.  It was wonderful!  Micah loved jumping in the waves and playing with Mom and Dad.  Abby was not as sure about it but did go in a bit. We built sandcastles, walked the boardwalk and did some fun shopping.  We got a wonderful boardwalk lunch together and enjoyed a very nice time at the beach.  We returned in the mid/late afternoon a little red and a lot tired.  We stopped at Marcus’ old college and had a nice visit.  We then got some Rita’s Water Ice and took a shower.  We then had dinner at another mall with an old college buddy and his wife and walked the mall a bit.  We did manage to get home early enough to do some packing and get things organized, but not much sleep for sure.

July 17

This was the day of the great surprise.  We got up early and packed up and headed for Hershey, PA.  We were to surprise Jessica’s best friend Sarah who is getting married this summer.  They have not seen each other in about 3 1/2 – 4 years and her fiance and us had organized this surprise.  It was perfect, and there is nothing like watching two best friends catch up!  We did the free chocolate ride, visited the store then headed up to the Hershey Hotel to see the beautiful gardens.  After that we picked up a nice lunch at a local sub place and went to the park for a picnic lunch and time on the playground.  We left as it started to rain and made our way to Rita’s Water ice (visit number 4 for us) for a nice cold treat.  We then spent the rest of the day until dinner at the outlet malls laughing, shopping, and having fun.  Marcus was in super metrosexual mode and it was a good thing to watch.  We then said our goodbye’s, loaded up, and headed for the hotel in Western, PA.  It was after 10 when we arrived and we were all tired, but were glad to have such a wonderful day.

July 18

We got up very early in the morning and left the hotel for a long day of driving.  We arrived in Marion, IN around 2 pm and got unpacked and visited with our old pastor who is now a district superintendent.  We had some wonderful conversation.  We then took the kids to a local water park with a fun water playground, slides, and more.  It was a bit cloudy and chilly, but the kids talked us into going down some water slides.  It was fun, but we both realized that we are not 16 anymore.  We headed back to the house for some boccie ball in the yard, a wonderful dinner and a long and meaningful conversation afterwards.  Marcus finished an essay for school somewhere in there and we got to bed very, very late.  We are so thankful for our friends and all the encouragement they offer us.  It was so nice to be together again!

July 19

This was our first Sunday in a church since June 28.  We got up early and left Marion to head to Lafayette, IN to attend Christ UM Church where we lived and Marcus worked for three years.  We were thrilled to return to the church as it was an incredible experience for us and we have many good friends still there; many of whom had never met Abby.   We love Colorado, but we sure do miss the people of Lafayette!  We spent some time catching up with folks, meeting new staff, and being in worship and communion.  We then went out to lunch with some former youth and parents at O’Charlies, one of our favorite Indiana places to eat.  Its amazing how time moves so quickly, but how the memories, moments, and ministry live so long in the lives and relationships that God brings.  After lunch we got our steak and shake milkshake and headed to the farm where we would be staying.  We caught up with our friends, introduced the dogs and the kids to the farm and showed the kids the goats.  We had a very nice dinner together and all got some much needed sleep.

July 20

Marcus had an appointment and some errands in the morning and so the kids and mom went and help milk the goats.  It was a great experience for the kids for sure.  We then went to the local Amish country market together which was great as well.  We had some laundry, organizing, and packing to do as well.  We then went out to dinner with some friends again enjoying our favorite place to eat.  We drove by our old house and old apartment and visited some friends who had taken one of our cats when we moved.  We returned to the farm to see some more friends and enjoy conversation and music together.  We sat on the swing and looked at some of our great trip pictures.

We hope you are enjoying our blog.  Of course there is so much more to report, but we cannot put it all down.  Thanks for all of your prayers for our journey!

July 13 & 14

July 16th, 2009

What a trip we have had.  It has exceeded all expectations and it reminds us of how blessed we are.  God is good!

July 13

Monday we got to all wake up together at the lake with both sets of grandparents.  It was nice to have everyone together.  Unfortunately it was another really windy day at the lake!  We were kind of disappointed with the weather again, but we had our fun last week so we cannot complain too much!  For lunch time we drove the boat down to the one end of the lake  to have a picnic lunch at the park in Auburn and then play on the playground.  It was a wonderful time and the pictures are great (visit www.coloradocarlson.net and follow the picture link).  We had a lot of fun all together then headed back to the cabins.  The Carlson grandparents headed off to work and we enjoyed some time playing and doing various things.  We then went to a vineyard on one of the finger lakes (it was new) to check it out and do a tasting.  It was very nice.  After a longer than anticipated detour, we finally made it back to the lake for a late dinner.  We then settled in for bed.

July 14

This was our last full day at the lake and it was interesting for sure!  Another windy day, but we made the best of it.  The Carlson grandparents came down and we all had a nice lunch together.  We then took some time to veg, play, and sit on the dock.  Suddenly we noticed a young, aggressive, and sick raccoon on the beach.  We got the children in side and decided we had to take care of it so no one got hurt.  After a long process we were able to kill it and dispose of it without incident.  It was very sad, but there was a lot of possible danger to those at the lake including children and pets.  It was quite an incident.  We then went swimming over at the point where the water was more calm and much warmer.  Then it was time to say goodbye to the Carlson grandparents.  It was sad, and Abby later had a meltdown about it, but we made do.  We finished the day with  simple dinner.  Then we visited the grave-site of Marcus’ grandparents.  It was good to do, and although not Marcus’ thing, we felt called to do it and it was a very meaningful time for Marcus especially.  It was back to the lake to continue the packing from the day and relax a bit before heading off to bed.

July 10-12

July 13th, 2009

We have uploaded some more pictures.  Be sure to check them out via the link at www.coloradocarlson.net or www.marcusjcarlson.com

July 10

We had spent the night at Grandma Rudl’s in Canada.  After getting up, packed and getting the kids ready we went out to breakfast.  We had breakfast on the upper deck of a restaurant on the St. Lawrence River.  It was wonderful!  Abby had a bit of a melt down so we had to get her going.  We then made the trip back across the border with little incident (we stopped at the duty free store so the kids could buy something for themselves).  We got back to the lake around 12:30 and had lunch right away.  It was a beautiful day and the first day of no clouds and rain here since we got to NY which is quite a difference from what we are used to in Colorado!  We then spent the day on the lake with some wonderful activities.  The kids got to play and swim as did Mom and Dad.  Dad got to spend some time on the jetski and the kayak.  We then went for a ride together in the kayak and a ride in the boat as well.  We spent some time in the hot tub and then were off to take Micah to his cousins for his first sleepover!  We stopped for soft ice cream at our favorite childhood ice cream place.  It was so tasty and fresh and it was great to have central NY black raspberry ice cream.  We took Micah to stay with his cousin and headed back to the lake.  When we got back we passed Abby off to grandma and grandpa and got ready for our double date with one of our bridesmaids and her boyfriend.  We took their boat and motored down to the end of the lake for dinner.  It was a wonderful dinner on a really nice evening.  We capped our double date off with a beer in the hot tub together.  It was a very nice and relaxing evening!

July 11

Saturday was to be Micah’s birthday party at the lake with the families.  It started out very nice with great food, BBQ, drinks and great conversation.  It was a bit cool and cloudy so no one was on the lake yet.  Then the rain came…and came…and came…and stayed.  It was very disappointing as we had really hoped that all of our families could enjoy the lake.  Nonetheless, it was great to have everyone together and to celebrate Micah’s fourth birthday.  He is such a sweet kid and loves the simple things and is a great party host.  He loved the special Mickey cake that grandpa Carlson made for him.  We put some pictures on the website so be sure to check them out.  Of course after everyone had left the weather cleared up perfectly and it got sunny and nice.  We spent a couple hours doing some things on the lake and fed the kids.  After getting them settled we had some great pizza made by Jessica’s dad and then had a quiet restful night.  We were bummed about the party weather, but all was well.

July 12

As much as we love church and a life of ministry, it is always nice to have a Sunday off.  Cousin Grace had stayed the night at the lake with Micah and Abby stayed over in the other cabin with Jessica’s parents.  As a result we got to sleep in until 8am which was absolutely amazing!  The lake was pretty cold and windy so it was a slow start to a day of activity.  We went over the another part of the lake all together and had some time to swim and play.  Everyone was having a great time.  Then Marcus took out the jet-ski for a nice ride.  When he was coming in to park, as he slid off he scraped the top of his foot along the zebra mussels on the bottom of the lake slicing his foot open in several places.  Each toe has cuts on it, but the small toe has a cut the length of the toe that is deep and wide.  It was bleeding pretty bad and we almost headed off to get stitches for it, but decided to wait (our new deductible year started July 1).  Marcus had the foot wrapped for a while which stopped the bleeding and used some new skin to patch himself up. It is still pretty bad but we think he will be fine.  He is sore but ready to try and get back on the lake (probably with a zip lock bag and duct tape on his foot) so he can finally tube if the wind cooperates.  After a very nice dinner all together (both families as Marcus parents stayed at the lake) we went on a walk up the road.  As we went we had fun picking some black raspberries.  At the top Micah, Mom, and Dad played in the corn stalks chasing each other.  At the top we spent some time all together picking fresh cherries which was a great time!  It was a full and wonderful day.

July 7-9

July 10th, 2009

I am thankful to be able to do this blog so folks can keep up (although I have no idea how many people are actually reading it) but I am finding that I can only really do it every 2-4 days, which is good because after all it is vacation.  I am thankful that I will have an electronic version of this wonderful memorable trip!

July 7

Today was a very fun day packed full of activity.  We got up and enjoyed a nice morning at the lake.  Marcus and Jessica went on a nice canoe ride together.  It was beautiful.  We came back for the dogs and Jenna just jumped out and swam to shore.  Samantha stayed in to enjoy the ride.  Micah got to learn a little bit about fishing with Uncle Steve.  We then took the kids Kayaking in beginner Kayaks on the lake with them sitting in front of us on the floor of the Kayak. It was great fun and the first time Marcus or Jessica had done this and we loved it.  It was a good workout!  We then had a nice lunch and some hot tub time while the kids napped and played.  We enjoyed watching a quick, powerful, rainstorm.  Marcus and Jessica then spent some time on the jetskis as the kids played in the lake with nana (grandma R).  They are the old style of Jetski and Marcus has never been able to get up on them.  He did this time and made major progress.  It was much fun.  Then after some quick packing we went on a quick boat ride around the lake before heading off to the Carlson’s for a nice dinner.  After dinner we all went to the park (including cousin Grace) and then had some huge ice cream.  Seriously…we all got kiddie cones ($2.12 each) and they were at least 6 inches tall past the top of the cone and were at least 4 inches in diameter.  No one finished.  What a fun and full day of activity.  I am tired just writing about it.

July 8

Today was Micah’s fourth birthday!  We cannot believe that our oldest child is now four already!  We had stayed at Marcus’ parents house so we got up in the morning and headed out after a nice breakfast.  We went to Target where grandma works to get Starbucks and some supplies.  We then headed to Armory Square in downtown Syracuse to take the kids to the MOST (Museum of Science and Technology) for a fun morning together.  The kids got to play, experience and explore in this great museum.  We finished off with an ocean imax movie which we all loved.  It was so relaxing that Micah and Abby both fell asleep!  We headed to the mall to stop at the apple store to fix a glitch with Marcus & Jessica’s iPhone’s then had lunch and got to take the kids to the Disney Store for a special treat from Grandma and Grandpa.  After that we went to Wegmans a grocery store in the area that we love and miss to stock up on some of the things we want to bring back with us.  We wish that we could bring back some perishable stuff like Hoffman hot dogs and the sliced ham, but had to settle for salt potatoes, new hope mills pancake mix, real maple syrup and some other items.  We will pick some things up in PA like our favorite beer etc and other states as we head back home over the next couple weeks.  We then got cousin Grace from Aunt Sarah at work and went home for some wild play and half moon cookies (another central NY delight).  After a nice dinner Grace and Micah went with grandma and grandpa to the park while Abby went to bed and Marcus and Jessica got some things done in a quiet house.  It was a very nice birthday day for Micah!

July 9

Today was spent in lovely Canada!  On the way up from Syracuse to cross the border we played O Canada to get excited for our trip.  Before I get into today’s adventure, I want to point out that I really think the US needs to be on the metric system.  We are the only ones not on the metric system and it feels kind of arrogant to be on our own system.  It must be hard in a global economy for all of these companies to have to convert for the rest of the world and vice versa.  Sure, the change would cost a bit and would be confusing, but I think it would save in the long run.  I also think it is arrogant that we call our system “Standard” even though it is not the standard of the world.

Now off  my podium and back to the day…

We left Marcus’ parents house at 7 am and headed to the lake to drop off some luggage and the dogs to stay there while we were in Canada.  We then made our three hour journey to Jessica’s grandmother’s house in Brockville Ontario, Canada.  It is always beautiful to cross the thousand islands region and the border crossing is always interesting.  Before even getting to the checkpoint at the Canada side we were stopped in America.  All of the lanes but one were blocked by the border patrol.  There were several agents with dogs and heavy gear, most in bullet proof vests.  It was clear that they were looking for something as they checked trunks and pulled cars over for a full search.  It took a while, but we got through with no special attention or issues.  We then got to the gate to wait at the entrance to Canada.  The border agent was interesting to say the least.  Its too long of a story to type, but be sure to ask either of us next time you see us or talk to us.  It was not without its moments and he was quite the character.  Very French Canadian!  It is always great to see Grandma Rudl.  She is precious and a gift to us and our children.  We are glad that they can know their great grandma.  She has cancer and so every year we are thankful that they can interact with her.  She is so generous and gracious.  We had a very nice lunch together and a wonderful visit. We went to our favorite Brockville spot, the bulk barn and the kids got to get lots of candy while there.  After that trip we went and got gas.  After converting liters to gallons and guesstimating on the dollar conversion (who knows how our bank will treat it with our debit card) we figured it was around $3.13 a gallon.  Yikes!  We spent some more time at great grandma’s house and then headed north about an hour and a half to Ottawa to have dinner with some friends.  Dinner was a wonderful time.  It was with some friends we knew from the church Marcus used to work at in Colorado Springs who now live in Ottawa. They actually had some college kids staying with them from Colorado Springs as well so it was funny to see some familiar faces in Canada.  We had a wonderful and lovely dinner!  Micah and Abby had a lot of fun and it was so great to visit and have time together.  We left around 8 to head back to Grandma Rudl’s to get the kids to bed.  We will get up in the morning and go out to breakfast before heading back to the US where our cell phones will be free again!

July 4-6

July 7th, 2009

July 4 ended with a bang for us.  Abby was already asleep but the rest of us sat out on the lake and watched several fireworks shows go off over the area.  Micah got to see and use sparklers for the first time.  At the end of the night he exclaimed; “Dad that was so cool!”  We do not usually do much for the fourth of July and so it was a nice and relaxing time as a family.

Sunday July 5 was a very nice day.  It is always nice as a family to sleep in on a Sunday.  We enjoyed some time in the lake swimming, played a bunch as a family, and helped get some stuff ready.  We had a very hot lunch in the sun and a quiet dinner in the shade. Micah and Abby had a wonderful time and for the first time ever the dogs were lose and did not run away.  The training worked!  Everyone but Micah and Marcus went for a sail as Micah really wanted to nap and Marcus stayed back with him.  Marcus got to take a cat nap in the hammock as life bustled around him.  The day went quick but there were many fun things to enjoy including the lake, the hot tub, a walk and much more.  The kids continue to amaze us with all that they say and do.  We are very proud and find so much joy in them.

July 6 came way too early!  We got up and headed out to see Marcus’ grandfather.  He had only met Micah several years ago and had never met Abby.  We had only seen him once since our wedding.  There are family tensions surrounding that side of Marcus’ family but we have avoided them and he was greatful to see the kids.  He is the only living grandfather between Marcus and Jessica.  We had a wonderful visit and headed off to Marcus’ parents house for a visit and lunch.  Lunch was wonderful and it is great to see how comfortable the kids are around the grandparents.  We got to see thier new house they close on this month—it will be the first house that they own in their lifetime!  We headed back to an empty lake as the kids napped on the way over.  It was nice and peaceful for a while. A storm threatened but did not come.  A poor decision was made to go shopping for a quick bit and it forced a very late dinner which was not good for anyone in our family.  We are making do with the situation.  We drove by the Methodist Church we got married in to find that it has been closed and was up for sale.  It was kind of sad to think about, but more so for the church than for us.  No real time in the lake today, but that is ok.  We are looking forward to staying somewhere else for a couple days and a couple other trips as a part of that.

Catching up

July 5th, 2009

Well, it has been a while since we were last able to blog and there is a lot to report!

The hotel night from hell…

On Thursday night we stayed in a hotel outside Joliet, IL.  It was not a good experience at all.  While we made the best of it and the kids had a good time and got to swim it was bad news.  First when we got there we waited 30 minutes to check in.  Then they had our reservation wrong.  Once we got into the room, it smelled funny and the window was wide open which meant that several bugs had made their way into the room.  We made do and had a nice night other that the usual difficulty of getting Abby to go to sleep in a hotel room.  She is so hard to get to sleep in a hotel room and does not do well out of routine.  After getting everyone into bed, we were awaken sevaral times by the room next to us who were talking and yelling loud and playing loud music.  After sevaral calls to the front desk, more noise in the hall, then noise outside our window; it finally got quiet around 2 am.  Needless to say it was not a good night!

Technology and travel…

Its intersting for us to see how technology has impacted our travel. With such a long trip and a reliance on the internet; even with iPhones we find ourselves needing interent for various things.  Of coruse most hotels have it but it works differently everywhere.  We also have found it interesting that both Iowa and New York have free wi-fi at their rest areas on their main highways.  Not something I had seen or expected.  We never used it so I cannot comment on how good it is.  Right now I am writing this using a wireless signal from a cabin two cabins down on the lake that has interet via satellite.  It is just funny to think about where we are as a culture.  The van has also been an interesting case study in technology and travel.  The van we got sevearl years ago has a DVD player in it and comes with wireless headphones.  After adding an iPod adapter we were able to be in a situation where the kids could listen to and watch a DVD with the headphones while we listened to our iPod in the front!  Even with all of this technology, we realized that our fancy van does not have seats made for long travel as our backs really hurt.  Even with adjusting them so many ways we could not get a position that felt good.

Friday July 3

We got out of the hotel fairly early on Friday and had our shortest drive yet, about 4 hours or so.  It was an easy drive and seemed so simple compared to the first two.  We arrived in the small town of Blissfield, MI around lunch time.  Marcus had worked there as his first full time ministry job.  It was a good learning, had some real ups and downs and some wonderful relationships.  It was the first time many of the people of that small community ever met our kids and the first time we had been back since the funeral of a teenager 5 years ago.  After picking up some lunch we had a nice visit with friends.  We then headed out to another families home where we would spend the rest of the day and sleep.  They were hosting a big potluck dinner party for us so that we could see everyone in our short time there.  It was an incredible evening, filled with laughter, memories, ministry, great conversations, and much appreciation.  We were amazed as it felt like we had never left at all.  It was an absolutely amazing time and was redeeming, healing, and wonderful.  It was full of great conversation and oru kids loved it.  Micah hit it off with Andrew the 3 year old of the current pastor of the church and they both tired each other out.  It was a special night and was filled with the presence of the spirit.  It ended with a late night coversation with our hosts.  I am amazed at how God teaches and redeems every little thing in life no matter what it is or how we expereince it if we open our eyes.  Micah got to see and catch his first ever lightning bugs.  It was a wonderful moment!  We got to bed after midnight and had to get up at 5, but it was well worth it.  We felt honored and saw a legacy of ministry that often does not get seen by those who lead as ministry really is about seed planting.  We learned a lot about ourselves and continue to explore what the future call may hold.

Saturday July 4

We got an early start on July 4, our earliest yet.  We were all ready to get to New York and see both set of grandparents.  We left Michigan at about 6:30am and arrived at the first grandparents place just before 2.  We made great time and the trip was in many ways uneventful.  The kids did well and it was our second shortest trip yet and knowing that they were getting to the main destination of the trip seemed to help. We did not get much sleep from the night before so everyone was tired.  It was so good to get to the lake and settle in, clean out the van and let the kids play with grandparents, uncles, and all of the other older kids at the big fourth of July lake party which included live entertainment, free drinks, free food and much more.  We had great slow roasted ribs, salt potatoes, and wine.  It was nice after so many hours and days on the road.  We actually cannot beleive that we traveled from Colorado to New York.  With all of the driving and stops, detours etc, it was over 1800 miles!  We spent between 30-33 hours in the car not counting our hotel stays etc.  It has been a great adventure and we are glad to be in one general place for the next 10 days.  As I write this I am watching the sunset on the lake as the wind picks up and the waves ripple in.  I hear and see fireworks in the distance.  The dogs are napping on the upper porch, Micah is playing, and Abby is getting down to bed.  The humidity of Michigan and New York gave Marcus a super good and curly hair day.  We have a special set of pictures on our flickr page.  You can check them out here at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/74587804@N00/sets/72157620966736930/

We will try and update them each day as we can.

More day 1, day 2, and some other musings…

July 3rd, 2009

Its about 10pm here in Illinois.  We are just east of Joliet, south of Chicago and have had a restful night in the hotel.  I must admit, getting Abby to fall asleep in a hotel is just a nightmare, but once it is done, its all good.  Tomorrow we will be up early for breakfast and to hit the road.  We should arrive at our next destination between noon and one tomorrow.  More about that later.

We have noticed that while the dogs have been great, they have been very quirky.  Jenna is glad to let us know when she has to go to the bathroom or is thirsty, as if she were a third child around age 3.  She hates to eat in the car but drinks a ton of water.  Sam, our other dog is the opposite.  She can’t wait to eat as usual and hates to drink water and only does so when she gets really thirsty.  On that same note…Abby is really funny.  We will finally get out of the car to sit down to eat and she eats almost nothing.  Then we get back in the car and she pounds down her lunch and usually the rest of Micah’s.  Its funny how we are on road trips.  Jessica is a work horse when it comes to driving and Marcus is more patient than usual (as if that were saying much:) ).    Our trip today was shorter, but not by much and we forgot to take pictures, but promise to do better with that.

A couple funny moments for sure as Jessica had an accent issue where she was telling Micah about windmills and pronounced it windmeal.  We cannot get him to say it any other way now.  She also talked to him about Mississippi telling him to spell it Missisippy.  I kind of had to chuckle at the English teacher on summer break.  Of course there is nothing more humorous and embarrassing than Marcus’ car dancing.  Be glad you missed it.  For all of the Sunrise gang—no, I have not yet played hey cow.  Not quite like driving to the Dakotas!

Last night in the hotel room, Micah laid down and put his arms behind his head like a little man.  He then told Jessica that he liked going in the car with the dogs, then to the restaurants and hotel.  We are thankful our whole family loves to travel and travels well together.  Usually around hour 6 or 7 Abby has her meltdown, but it ends with a nap, so who can blame her…she is two.

We were talking about how this is not your mom’s road trip.  Most people thought we were crazy when we told them what we were going to do.  We figure why not give it a try.  The timing works out with a conference for Marcus that happens every four years and is in Indy near where he used to work. Using the fourth of July holiday, regular days off, all of his vacation time and then the conference time and the route back from there, it turns out to be 22-24 days or so total.  We will log over 4000 miles total and will spend time in 11 states or so plus Canada.  The highlight will be time with grandparents but also time to visit all of the places we have lived and catching up with old friends and old ministry settings.  It should be very interesting and we are excited.  The first part will be the hard part and then we get to relax as soon as we get to NY on the 4th.  Of course tomorrow will be nice as well.  We will be arriving in Michigan where Marcus held his first full time youth ministry job back in 2001.  It has been over 5 years since we have been there and most folks have not met either of our kids.  It was a very small church and a very good learning experience.  In that small youth group, two kids died before 21.  It is just after the 5th anniversary of the death of one of those youth and we will see many of the families for the first time since the funeral which was on our first wedding anniversary.  It was a complicated situation and setting, yet time heals all and there is a big party for our arrival with a potluck, cookout, and bonfire.  We already feel appreciated and know many are as excited to see us as we are them.  Being a very small town we are sure that new has spread, but who knows who will and will not be able to be there.  It will be encouraging and nostalgic.  Fun, and relaxing and maybe a bit healing too.   It is nice to see what God has done in you in a ministry setting and to see some sense of legacy.   It is always great to feel appreciated and that can get lost in the hustle and bustle of life.

During Abby’s meltdown today she finally calmed down when mommy came back and sat next to her.  Yesterday during the meltdown, it took daddy holding her hand for her to calm down and fall asleep.  Daddy is still sore from driving with one arm back to Abby, but of course these moments are very precious.

One of the things that we have noticed is how much people love our kids; even strangers.  We always figured that happened to everyone with young kids and we know ours are cute and very outgoing.  We have been amazed as we travel how kind people are about it and how much other folks seem to enjoy our kids (and our dogs).  It is a great compliment and helps us see the great things when they are having issues in the car together.  We made some nice woman’s day today when we stopped for gas and bathrooms at a truck stop just across the Iowa border.  Micah and Abby have some spending money and bought some small items with that. They were very kind to the cashier and we realized that they had made her day.  We hope that they do not “grow up” and lose that.  Micah was ready to play with his toy and asked dad about it to which dad said he would have to have mommy open it because he was driving…Micah’s reply was that mommy was the best opener….so true, oh so true and very cute coming from Micah.

So, there are just some of our thoughts, stories, and reflections from today.  It has been a blessing and it is only day two and we know these would be some of the hardest days.  Its a reminder of what really matters and a reminder of the goodness of God all around us.  It is a great joy to be a part of God’s dream for and in this world and to have such great companions along the way…

Day 1-Wednesday July 1

July 2nd, 2009

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The hardest part of the first day was the end of the day.  Even though it was a long day and there were little to no naps; it was near impossible to get the kids to go to sleep as late as it was in the hotel.  They were just having too much fun together.  We figure that is better than fighting all day!  We left the house around 11:00am MST.  We got gas then stopped in the Springs for lunch.  After lunch we hit the road.  Marcus drove for the first 5 or so hours up into Nebraska.  The kids watched some DVD’s with the wireless headphones while Marcus & Jessica were able to talk and listen to the iPod up front.  The ride was smooth and mostly uneventful.  The dogs and the kids were great.  We had a reasonable number of stops and no major delays (some typical construction slowing) and arrived ahead of schedule.  Jessica drove the second 5 hours and Marcus finished up the last 30 minutes.  The dogs loved the ride and went right to sleep at the hotel.  Micah spent most of the day looking at the map Dad highlighted for him eagerly awaiting our first stop and constantly trying to understand why we could not get to New York in one day.  As we were driving across eastern Colorado, Jessica pointed out the farms to Abby; who in turn would simply sing EI-EI-O from the classic Old McDonald Had a Farm…

We relived Vacation Bible School through the soundtrack as Micah sang and danced, Marcus and Jessica tried to get the songs out of their head, and Abby attempted to sing with Micah.  By the end of the trip both kids were all giggles mostly because they were tired.  This was the longest leg of our whole journey and it was good to get that done first!  Tomorrow morning we will do the second longest leg of the journey as we finish Nebraska, Iowa and stop in Illinois.  We are leaving early in hopes we can do the pool at the next hotel with the kids.  So far, so good.  It has been a joy simply to have the time together as a family with no distractions or obligations. The kids continue to amaze us with their energy, excitement, curiosity, and simple joy and faith.

Off to bed….