it's taken me longer to get to this 2nd posting about our vacation than i planned.....
far west, missouri
heading for far west, about a 15 minute drive from our motel, we stopped to get gas, and met the mission president for the independence, missouri mission, his wife, and a group of missionaries at the gas station. the missionaries had finished their missions, and were flying home later in the day. as a group, they were following the mission tradition of visiting far west and adam ondi ahman before going to the airport. so we had the opportunity to share far west and adam ondi ahman with them, which made it even more special. we got lost on our way to far west - it is very off the beaten path, but this gave them time to have a nice testimony meeting before we interrupted them. i think that far west was one of my favorite places that we visited. although there is nothing there but the four cornerstones that were laid for the temple that was never built, the spirit was so peaceful and beautiful, and just happy, for lack of a better word. i found it amazing that there had been a large thriving town of over 500 homes, and now there is nothing but sceninc rolling hills of hay. i also found it interesting that the spirit i felt wan't more sad or tragic. the saints built this city after they were driven from independence, but were later driven from here with governor bogg's extermination order. joseph and hyrum were living there when they were taken away to richmond and later liverty jails. i could have stayed and stayed, but we left when the missionaries did so we could follow them and avoid getting lost again. the mission president and his wife just loved mia and noah. their three children were adopted too.
mia & lexi sitting in a grove of trees. mia decided that one of them had been the tree of knowledge , and one had been the tree of life :)
after this we drove about 14 miles to jamesport, a small town with amish farms on the outskirts. it had wonderful antique shops, and we enjoyed a yummy mennonite buffet. passing the horsedrawn buggies and neat and tidy 19th century style farms with wonderful amish clothes hanging on all the lines was a treat for all of us. we bought a hand carved toy for the kids and this fun book that lexi read aloud to us as we drove.
after this fun diversion, we headed east, across upper missouri, towards quincy. we loved driving through the rolling hills and green fields of the midwest. we arrived at the rodenbergs' around 6:00, and were treated to a yummy, healthy dinner - just perfect. so fun to be hanging out with these wonderful friends again! i can't express how good it felt. their house and property - two acres of wooded land with a large pond - were beautiful. we relaxed at the pond for the evening, and loved every minute of it - heavenly!
and, as if that hadn't been enough, we got to stay in this gorgeous guest room!
school started for us on thursday, august 16th....so early! it was a fun, exciting morning at our house, our first 1st day of school in america. the excitement was heightened by people sleeping through alarms and having a cousin visiting. everyone had a great first day, and are continuing to enjoy their first tastes school here. i have to admit that I enjoyed the adventure of going back to school immensely. i really missed having 'back to school' at this time of year while we lived in japan. it just didn't feel right when it happened in the spring, and after 9 years of japanese school, i never got used to it. i continued to feel that fall was the real 'back to school', even though it only marked the beginning of the 2nd semester there.
it causes a great mixture of emotions in me to have my teenage girls going to my high school, with some of the same teachers, and mia going to the elementary that was built during my 2nd grade year, agian, with some of the same teachers. on back to school night at the elementary, I walked past the gym/cafeteria, and was flooded with memories of lunch hours spent doing hand stands in the halls with my friends, and other sweet and crazy reminiscing.
leaving for school....not the best photo, lexi's face is in the shadows, but a good memory nevertheless.
lexi had the misfortune of someone else wearing the same shirt on that day......but it was a cute shirt :)
mia & lyndee after school. lyndee was staying with us because her parents were out of town. such a sweetie! she is the same age as mia, and started school a week later. she is my hero because she was a great sport to play with noah while mia was at school, two days in a row.
lexi is on the cross country team. tashi is in a 'cappela choir. they are enjoying their classes. mia has a wonderful teacher and seems to be thriving.
she loves to smile and pull silly faces - so fun! she's also quite a talker..... (just what we need, another talkative girl in the family....lol)
gracie surprised us this week by being in the 96th percentile for height, 76th for weight, at her 2 month check up (2.5 lbs, 24.5 inches). she has been seeming very long to us, but we didn't expect that. none of our girls have ever crossed the 50th percentile for height or weight. will she be super tall, or is this just an early growth spurt? noah was 90th and 95th percentile, weight and height, at 5 months. he started crawling a week later, and within a few months, he had dropped to the 20 and 25th percentile. so we'll see.
brock & i wondered........were we completely insane when we started thinking about this vacation?.... putting two teenagers, a newborn, a newly potty trained three year old, and a six year old who never stops talking into a minivan to drive over 2500 miles. it took a lot of discussion (and a lot of prayer) to achieve the level of courage needed for this undertaking. but we are so glad we did it. it was WONDERFUL! and as long as we could keep laughing, everything went fairly smoothly. we survived two lost cell phones, a bag left at a motel, a three year old who went potty six times in less than three hours while driving through the winding roads of the rockies west of denver, where there are no rest stops to be found, a key that was slammed in the back hatch of our car and severly bent out of shape, and many other adventures, and enjoyed ourselves through the whole experience. gracie was unbelievably good! she was an angel.
happy gracie in the car!...taken by lexi
day one, july 25th: we drove through utah, colorado, and 45 miles into kansas before stopping for the night in colby.
july 26th: we drove through kansas, and found it to be scenic & enjoyable with its cornfields and red barns, in spite of the flat, unchanging terrain. it was painful for me to pass so many antique shops, knowing we didn't have time to stop. we drove into kansas city, where we crossed into missouri about 5 pm, and eventually found the visitors center at the temple lot in independence. we enjoyed the spirit there, and wanted to visit the temple of the community of christ (formerly the rlds church) across the street, but it had closed at 5:00.
the temple of the community of christ, independence, missouri
we walked around on the temple lot, owned by the church of christ temple lot church, and then drove on to liberty, missouri. it was a quaint and picturesque little town, full of tiny roads and cute old houses. we enjoyed the views as we drove. we stopped at the liberty jail visitors center, with the liberty jail recontructed inside. when we pulled into the parking lot, we counted 9 cars, with plates from 8 different states - kind of fun! we loved our tour, (there are volumes i could write about each place we visited) and wanted to stay in liberty for the night, but there were no vacancies, so we traveled about 15 miles north to kearney, missouri. lexi had lost her brand new cell phone, presumably it had fallen out at a rest stop. she was devatated, and it threatened to ruin our experience in independence and liberty, but she rallied herself, and pulled through. she found it that night when we were unloading the car at the best western in kearney. brock and i were thrilled to be in missouri, visiting these sights....something we had hoped to do for years.
more postings to come.......
we had the most wonderful time on our family road trip, and i plan many upcoming posts about our adventures. this posting is dedicated to the treasures i found along the way. it was painful to pass hundreds of antique shops and not have the time to stop, but i did squeeze in a little time for shopping, and this is what i found....
this is my favorite find, from an antique store in hannibal, missouri (mark twain's boyhood home), an april 1935 edition of "the farmer's wife". isn't that baby scrumptious? i plan to frame the cover and several other pages, if i can bring myself to tear it up. here is the back....
and finally, i found these dishes in the window of a fabric/quilt shop (i treated myself to some fabric there too). they didn't have the whole set of dishes, and i wasn't prepared to spend that much anyway, but i bought the cannisters (a set of four, each witha different animal) and two plates. after searching for more of these dishes online, i am so glad I got the cannister set, because i can find lots of soruces for buying more of the dishes, but no one seems to be selling the cannisters - LUCKY! i think these will be so fun in my 40's kitchen i dream of.....someday.
i love this painting of the scovill bakery (still in it's shrink wrap until I am ready to frame it), it seems to capture the spirit of old nauvoo. and we needed a sunstone so that we can laugh frequently at the memory of two-year-old brock in a family movie taken at nauvoo, crying in fear when he looked at the sunstone that had been left on the temple lot.
we have enjoyed two reunions during the past few weeks. the first was our english speaking tokyo ward.....such great friendships and amazing people! the examples in this ward inspired me to better myself, to stretch and grow. a lot of beloved faces weren't there, but we savored the ones that were.
next was a family reuinion with my mother's family. here are just a few of us.....its a huge family. gracie is my grandma's 83rd and youngest great grandbaby, but she won't hold that position long, seven or maybe eight more are on the way. these are just GREAT grandbabies, 83 GREAT grandbabies, not including the 46 grandchildren. i am number 6 grandchild.
my baby brother challis and grandma were fishing together. grandma got a day license just to fish with chall. aleah, challis' oldest, is holding up our cute grandma's cute little catch. i have never been a fan of yuba lake....too much desert for me. but great company (and yummy sweet rolls in large amounts) made it very enjoyable. we returned home from our 10 day road trip (details to come in a future posting, a very long future posting) to find 5 messages (three from grandma, one from an aunt, one from a cousin) expressing hopes that we would come.....nothing like feeling loved by wonderful people.