Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fun on the 4th with family

Belated pics of our family's fun 4th celebration, complete with a trip to Six Flags over GA, The Dwarf House, Fireworks, a 5K, and a patriotic church service ! 'Merica!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Day 7 (and more of day 6!)

Seeing such beautiful countryside as we drove made the photographer in me want to jump out and take pictures.  So I did the next best thing - I grabbed my camera and took drive-byes!

Field in Kansas.  Made me think about amber waves of grain.

One of the millions(?) of windmills in Kansas.

A neat A&W we stopped at for lunch in Russell, KS

We finished up our journey west today, stopping only for gas, lunch, and a quick picture at the state line.  Such a unique state line sign!

One special memory on this day was seeing the mountains slowly come into view on the horizon.  The kids were so excited to finally see them!  And their new home!  After receiving the keys and doing a walk-through of the home (picking out rooms, figuring out furniture), we went out for Chic-fil-a and grabbed some groceries. We'd anticipated staying one more night in the camper with it parked in the driveway, but the drive was juuuuust a little too steep to get the camper level.  So, we made pallets and slept on the floor inside the house.  The kids had a "sleep-over" in J's room and were thoroughly exhausted.  For me there was a mixture of emotions and thoughts.  This new home was a good one with plenty of space for our things and for us to spread out and be comfortable, but it wasn't  MY home.  It felt like we were supposed to be here but it still felt foreign.  Having felt this way many times before, I knew this was normal.  It takes time to adjust to a new living space.

Over the next several weeks we unpacked and settled and made the place feel like home to us.  The kids were troopers when it came to unpacking and patiently giving Mommy & Daddy time to set up house!  And their dreams came true (with the help of their hard-earned money) when we got the trampoline they'd been longing for put up in the backyard.  One of my favorite spaces in this home is the fireplace room.  It's a great space to read, relax, and look out into the backyard.  We have a view of the mountains to our west and a view of the Blue Stern prairie to our east.  This is truly such a beautiful region of the country!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Day 6

Today we moseyed on through Kansas and made it nearly to its western border.  So often we've heard of the sheer boredom that ensues when one drives through Kansas - nothing to see and nothing to do. Nothing but prairie, and cattle, and oil wells.  We found the scenery to be peaceful and refreshing.  We marveled at the flat land and how fiercely the wind whipped through the prairie.  I think the thing that made it the most enjoyable was doing the long drive over the course of two days. 

We stopped for the night in a place called Goodland, Kansas at a KOA camping site called Goodland KOA.  It was a very clean, well-kept campground and offered many amenities.  We parked the camper, set 'er up, and went for a dip in the pool.  And our sweet li'l girl did her first underwater handstand at that very pool!  As for our nightlife that evening, our beagle ended up getting into some dog medication and ate not two or three but FIFTEEN pills!  So while the kids were sleeping, hubby and I were outside giving beagle peroxide to help oust what he'd put in.  Not fun.  And neither was the middle-of-the-night "code brown" that ensued in the camper after he tried to O.D. on those pills.  {Ahem}  Next morning we awoke with excitement yet sadness on our hearts.  Excitement that we'd be making it to our final destination that very day, but sadness that our epic camper journey was coming to a close.  The next place we'd park the Pioneer Wagon would be our new driveway! 

 A neat gas stop in Kansas


Goodland KOA

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 5

Day 5
We made our way into Kansas today. We counted RVs and campers as an in-car game to pass the time.  And we got over halfway to our goal of finding all 50 states' license plates. Our stopping place for the night was a campground in Paxico, KS -- Millcreek Campground.  The town of Paxico and this campground are a throwback to yesteryear, when the railroad was king.  We got to explore an old decommissioned train station with a telegraph and its poles still standing. We lingered over the nearby fencing to get an up close look as a train nearly a mile long powered down the track just a few feet away. The ground rumbled beneath our feet and the conductor honored our request to blow his whistle as he passed.  The kids delighted in all these things from long ago, reveling in them with the fascination that comes from novelty. The 6 of us, dogs and all, eased down an embankment to the creek, which lends its name to the campground, and stuck our toes and paws in the cool water flowing by gently. A relief from the day's oppressive heat! And before heading back in we took turns on the teeter totter and merry-go-round on the playground. Hubby hung up a sheet in the camper and using his projector we watched "Evan Almighty" to complete our ark encounter.  Fun ending to an awesome day! 

One thing we’re doing to combat boredom and sibling rivalry is audiobooks, and a little bit of school work, as we go.  I brought a couple of subjects that are "weak points" for us, so we can sharpen up and not loose learning ground.  It doesn't exactly make me the most popular person in the vehicle, but hey - I'm the mom, not the best friend!  For audiobooks, here is our list we chose for this trip:

We also tuned into some podcasts of our favorite speakers and preachers.  This all led to several excellent conversations and in many ways I felt we learned more on-the-go than any day in the classroom!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day 4

We left Kentucky this morning and finally headed west (so far we’d only gone north and east!).  We crossed over through Indiana and into Illinois.  Shortly after crossing the river and seeing the great arch, we made it to our campsite in Missouri, just outside of St. Louis, in just enough time to kayak as the sun was setting.  370 Lakeside Park in St Peters, MO has a beautiful campground right on a lake - we highly recommend this site to anyone looking to camp in the St. Louis area.  In addition to a clean, nicely tailored campground (which is run by the city of St. Peters) there is also a very nice recreational area that is open to the public as well.  It is well within walking distance of the campground.  When we arrived they were having a “concert in the park” under a large, gorgeous, wooden pavilion.  We could hear the music drifting out onto the water as we put in. This time hubby and I each took a dog on board our kayaks with us.  The did pretty well and settled down after we got paddling, but we could both tell they’d rather be in the water than riding on it!  Dinner was sandwiches - both lunchmeat and ice cream!  The kids were begging for their beds by the time we finished eating.  Tomorrow we move on into Kansas for a 2 day journey on I-70.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Day 3

Day 3
The Ark Encounter was incredible - truly a sight to behold.  The sheer magnitude of its size is awe inspiring and thought provoking.  Great care was taken to maintain adherence to what Scripture clearly states regarding the ark and the global flood, while artistic license was taken to show what could have been possible considering the technology and inventions available to Noah during his time.  Because some translations don’t agree on the interpretation of Biblical units of measure, whenever there could have been a discrepancy in measurements regarding the ark the Ark Encounter went with what they termed “the worst case scenario” - clearly portraying, for example, the largest number of animals fitting in the smallest amount of space (along with several other scenarios).  I especially appreciated this approach as I feel it speaks directly to the skeptics who try to pick apart the ark and a global flood with cries of “It’s not possible!”  We also marveled at the number of years God allowed Noah to live on the earth — he was 500 before he had his first son!  Can you imagine what living for 950 years does for one’s perspective on life?  I theorized that there wouldn’t be quite the “hurry up” mentality of our current day.  In a generational cycle of that length, there would be time enough to do many, many things so why hurry?  A husband and wife could have children for possibly hundreds of years.  And those who trusted in God and walked with Him in righteousness would have five to nine centuries to witness His goodness and mercy, trace His hand of kindness, and grow in their personal faith.  Many of the scenes, plaques, and pictures we saw there brought answers to some long-seated questions I’d had regarding this beloved Bible story.  But at the end of the day, the ark and the flood still require faith.  Faith that God is who He says He is, did what He said He would, and will do what He said He will do (or won’t do, as in the case of another global flood!) The Bible tells us what we need to know, but there are still many questions left unanswered regarding the flood and the ark.  And that is where faith comes in.  Scripture takes us where we need to go and faith fills in the rest.  In the meantime, we added a few more questions to our “questions to ask God in heaven” list.

After returning from the ark, we took the kids out to the pool (ha!) to swim and then we enjoyed some dinner outdoors and a campfire with smores.  Tomorrow morning we’ll hit the trail again, St. Louis bound!