Monday, March 31, 2014

road trip part 2 - Charleston

 We arrived in Charleston with much anticipation. Wars, beauty, and grandeur make up this enticing, harbour front city. After walking around for a bit, we learned that this city is not appreciated by children. Pointing out beautiful gardens, and cast iron gates just didn't "do it" for little people. We needed a plan. As we stood at a stop sign and tried to figure things out, two teachers from our school came walking down the road - one of them being Liam's teacher! They had been busy touring Charleston and suggested that we go for a horse and buggy tour. That spurred us on and off we went in search of a tour. We didn't need to look far, because Charleston is full of horse and buggy tours and for a good reason. Going on a tour is worth EVERY cent! Riding down the old cobble roads behind a horse and buggy...amazing! The tour guide pointed out things that you would never find in a tour book. 

We spent the night in a cute, nautical Inn just outside of Charleston called, "Shem Creek"  a lovely name for a really neat little town.

We spent a full day touring the USS. Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, a destroyer, and a submarine. The boys loved it and found it all very exciting.
The chocolate chip cookie recipe is hard to read, but it gives the ingredients for a 10,000 cookie batch! The poor cooks!
The navy personnel slept in small cots stacked three high. These men had little room or privacy.
Touring the submarine was even more shocking. Long and narrow, moving from room to room required flexibility. The submarine was dark and stuffy and we were not sure how those men lived in a submarine for months at a time without going crazy.

Leaving Charleston, we headed to the mechanics to pick up our sprinter which was fixed while we were in Hilton Head. We sure missed the space of the sprinter while we rented the mini van for a week. When the sprinter broke down on the way to Hilton Head we had to transfer everything into the mini van and the only way that worked was to put the boys in the van and then load up all of our belongings around them and in some cases on them. I had packed lightly for the trip but I had not packed efficiently thinking that I had more than enough space. By the time we were done loading up the mini van, we could only see the boys' eyes! 

Leaving for Home!

Tips and Tidbits:
*Old Navy had a sale and I bought matching bright t-shirts and a sweater for each boy. This was a great help especially when you had to do a fast head count which happen A LOT.
*As Adam was packing, he purposefully threw in matching t-shirts too. He knew what I did not know- he could of been a tour guide. He was a man in motion, exploring and teaching the boys (and whoever else happened to be listening) history lessons. There were times when I included him in the head count too!
*Adam had booked our hotel stays on PriceLine where you place a bid for your night. Our stays included breakfasts, and by the time we were done eating, we were not sure if the hotel made any money off of our family!
*The best days were days when we had a plan. We had to be flexible with a baby, but when the boys knew what was happening, the day seemed to run smoother.
*We were thankful to God for the opportunity to spend time together as a family.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

road trip part 1

We welcomed Washington with enthusiasm and energy. The smell of the city's turned-up soil and the sight of budding trees thrilled me to no end. We spent two days touring and exploring the U.S. capitol and learned about their fascinating history. 

The Lincoln Monument

Capitol Hill

The museums in Washington are incredible. There was almost too much to take in with their
details and facts, hands on learning, and films. We toured through the Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and the American History Museum. All of these museums are FREE! They just require time because there is so much!

After Washington we headed down to the bottom of South Carolina. We had rented a small villa on Hilton Head Island and looked forward to biking, sun, and exploring. However...
A few weeks previous we had bought a Sprinter vehicle for work. With passenger seats, this van turned out to be excellent for travelling. We had enough room to move around and stand and best of all we could fit all of our belongings. We sat up high in the sprinter making it perfect for sight seeing. Just as Adam and I were giving each other a high five for this brilliant way of travelling, Adam lost steering power. We managed to coast into a hotel and ended up staying put for the night. Early Saturday morning Adam had the sprinter towed to a mechanics and much to our dismay the parts for the sprinter would not be in until the following week. While Adam waited for the mechanics to look at the van, I was stuck in a small hotel room with five boys and the room grew smaller by the hour. It was a day that I never want to redo. Finally after sitting in the lobby for an hour with five non-sitting boys (we got kicked out of our room after 2:00) Adam arrived with a rental van. We were finally on our way again.

One of the things Hilton Head Island is known for is the biking. The paved trails are surrounded by giant, moss covered trees. Board walks and bridges over swamps added to our enjoyment. We had fun looking for alligators, counting turtles, and watching the frogs jump into the ponds.

Discovering a hobby farm created lots of excitement.

Some of my family stayed close by in a condo and it was fun to meet up with them. My uncle Ted and aunt Heidi had a heated pool where they were staying and they kindly invited us to join them. This turned out to be a good thing. In the villa where we were staying there were people living above us and this caused me much stress with our carefree, loud, country boys. The boys woke up early every morning and we spent the first hour saying, " quiet, lower your voices." We would hit the biking trails as soon as possible in the mornings. During the  afternoons we would find something different to do and swimming was enjoyed by all.

We heard comment after comment about our boys.
"Are all of these boys yours?"  became the question of the week.
When we answered "yes" usually there would be a rather long pause. This at times became awkward, because I wasn't sure if I should apologize! But most people loved it and wished us the very best. They told us to enjoy these years because they fly by.
One man surprised when he told us that he had six boys. They survived by sending the boys into the basement and throwing raw meat down! After spending an enjoyable week on Hilton Head Island, we headed off towards home with a stop in enchanting Charleston. Those pictures are still to come.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Personal Perils Create Pearls

A woman shared this devotional in our Bible Study:

         "For many women, wearing jewellery is part of personal adornment. Throughout the centuries women have worn rings, earrings and bracelets made of gemstones and precious metals. If you have ever stopped and looked at the display cases in a jewellery store you know that these things cost a considerable amount of money! The pearl is one such precious stone, which in many ways portrays the Christian life.
Pearls are formed inside a living creature - an oyster. They are formed as the result of a fascinating biological process. Occasionally a foreign substance slips into the oyster's inner body and cannot be expelled. It's like the oyster gets a splinter. To protect itself from the foreign substance, the oyster covers the irritant with layers of the same substance that is used to create the shell. Over many years this forms a beautiful pearl.
As we travel our way into the future and ultimately to the New Jerusalem there is much to be learned from the formation of a pearl. Each of us is like a precious pearl in the eyes of the Lord. We are woven together like a beautiful necklace. But how do we get formed into what we are and shall be? The sufferings and tribulations that we experience are irritants that cause us considerable discomfort, but, as Paul reminds us in Romans 5, they are producing something beautiful. Those irritants are what make us into a precious pearl. And where are we formed? The church of the Lord Jesus is our "oyster."  In the community of God's people we face perils and tribulation. Yet when those irritants are surrounded with the shell of the gospel they become something precious.
We can rejoice in the hope of eternal glory. When faced with tribulation and suffering, know that God is making a pearl. We can "glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Romans 5:3) May that adjust our expectations and attitude. Our identity is not defined by what we achieve, but by what we have become- a precious pearl in the necklace of Christ."

I have also added a new blog to my blog list  called "For Your Tomorrow."
It is a new blog written by Tim Challies' sister. Maryanne writes in such a comforting, encouraging way. I have learned a lot from her already. I would love to have a nice, warm cup of tea with her.