Wow! So this is long overdue, but between moving and internet installation delays, we’ll just say that this post has had time to age to perfection 🙂 Our trip from California to Wisconsin was a mix of awe at God’s provision, and also a practice in showing Christ-like love when long hours being cooped up brought on bouts of irrational negative emotions in the little guys (and also in their parents). Overall, it was a pretty great trip. We posted on Facebook as we went, taking pictures along our route, but for anyone that missed (or anyone who wants any further details, you nosy people, you), the following will take you on a fantastic voyage in… The Magic Van.
We started our journey from Lakeside at around 6:30 in the morning, frantically trying to get everyone and everything into the van so that “The Schedule” would not be corrupted. We didn’t make it. By the time we left the driveway, we were almost an hour behind, and wouldn’t you know it, I left without drinking any coffee 🙁 Thanks to our GPS’s overly cautious time estimates, however, by the time we made it to our first stop, we were only a little behind, and the kids were very ready for the break (thanks to one of our phone’s apps, we were able to find this super- out-of-the-way super-awesome playground near Yuma, AZ
After a very short 35 minute break, it was back on the road until lunchtime, which was near Phoenix (don’t worry, I’m not going to give you every single detail of every stop, but this one was exceptional, so in it goes). We specifically wanted to stop at this restaurant I had found here, since it was dedicated gluten-free (which is now Owen’s new diet). We drive up, and lo and behold, that particular day, for that particular meal, it was closed for an event. Feeling minorly frustrated at going a little out of our way for nothing, we decided to risk the nasty effects of gluten to grab food at the only other place nearby: a pizza joint. We walk closer, and see this sign in the window:
There was even a little courtyard with a water fountain, pigeons (woo hoo!) and dead palm fronds to play with!
The rest of the day was mostly uneventful (thank goodness!), and we spent the night in a Super 8 (and not in the Magic Van, as per our original plans which were shot down by loving family members…)
The next morning, we started out another long day of driving- a couple less hours on the road, but done by dinnertime- not. fun. God doused us in extra patience however, and it was smooth sailing until about the last half hour to cousin Linda’s house (we even made it in time for dinner!). It was such a refreshing time, both physically and spiritually, that we got to spend there, as we had a couple hours of adult conversation and talking about what God was doing in our lives and hers. The kids got along pretty well too, especially considering how long they had had to spend in the car!
After getting to sleep in (or at least, not wake up super early), we headed to Arkansas for lunch with Rhett’s aunt and uncle, Al and Connie. We got treated to some amaaaazing BBQ (you southerners really know what you’re doing!), and a few moments respite before moving on.
We set off for Missionary Training Center in Missouri, and got there in time for dinner with friends before crashing at the guesthouse. By this time, the kids were getting pretty ornery and very sick of driving and each other, and we were sort of thankful to be able to sleep where no one else could hear the whining 🙂
The next morning, after a relaxing breakfast with Rhett’s aunt and uncle, Rob and Cheryl (on staff with NTM at the MTC), we got to attend church in Camdenton, at the church we attended while we were in training. It was so nice to get to see everyone, even if just for a very short time.
From there we drove on to Nebraska, to spend some time with another of Rhett’s aunts and uncles, Craig and Judy (plus the cousins living there). At this point, our phone was fully charged, and we got to capture this gem of a picture, which was pretty representative of all of our feelings at this point:
We got to Lincoln in the evening, just in time for bed, but then we got to spend the whole next day there, with zero driving. It was such a relief to have a day out of the van, and the boys loved having playmates, especially playmates with excellent reading skills!
Our last day was another long one, although it was made shorter by the fact that we were anxious to get home, so our breaks got shorter and fewer between (by now, my very detailed schedule was pretty much a vague suggestion). The kids did so well after their day off, considering how much of the previous week they had spent strapped down. We arrived in Oostburg with enough time to let the kids run around a bit before bedtime. The trip was so much better than we had anticipated, and though it was sad to leave so many people we love in California and along the route to Wisconsin, it was also good to be home again (for me at least 🙂 )
Here are some more pictures, bunched at the end because I’m either not sure where I took them or they’re just extras: