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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back to Oregon

Like usual I'm way late in posting an update. Our last week in Pennsylvania got a little crazy. We were having fun trying to cram as much last minute time in with the grandparents as possible. As you can see, what started out as a peaceful canoe trip with Grandpa, (below,) wound up... well, I don't know what happened! :) One thing's for sure--we were having a good time!

And then there were the Monster trucks. I had the chance to fulfill Hudson's lifelong dream (all five years worth--well, actually he's only had this dream for the past year, since his buddy Seth introduced him to Monster trucks--but since a five year old can pretty much only remember the past year anyway, it seems like his whole life and therefore qualifies as a lifelong dream.) We went to the Winchester, Virginia Fairgrounds and saw the Monster trucks. Can you say "sub culture?" Man, that was an experience!! I don't even know where to begin. Weird! That's Hudson, with the driver of who knows which truck.

From PA we went on to TN, where we had a wonderful time reconnecting with several friends and supporters there. The kids had a blast at the Graham's cottage, playing and catching frogs, turtles and yes, a black snake. This sucker was big--at least 7 feet. I have a video I might post later. Britton found him just as he was swallowing something quite large, like maybe a squirrel or small rabbit. So he waited till it was fully swallowed and then picked it up to "enjoy" the beauty of the creature. Joy was appalled!
I enjoyed helping Peter cut down some dead trees that threatened the cabins. Besides the fact that it was fun to get out there and chop stuff down (what guy doesn't like to cut things down?), I'm telling you the tree-cutting story because of what happened next.

That night my eye was irritated. The next morning we left on the drive to CA. The eye did not get better. I drove 650 miles the first day, with alligator tears flowing like a fire hydrant from my puffy eye. That night we stayed in a town in Arkansas that didn't even have a stoplight. No doctor. Of course, I wasn't getting much sympathy from Joy, who kept telling me to stop in any of the large towns and cities we passed and get it checked. But alas, a man on a road trip is a man on a mission. I had plans. The plans did not involve stopped for a minor eye irritation. So on we went another 620 miles on day two. Finally, the third morning I looked up an eye specialist in Abilene, TX. Turned out there was a wood splinter, embedded in the eyeball just next to the pupil. I kept the patch on long enough to impress the kids with my best pirate imitation.

By then things were getting really crazy in the van! Nothing like driving 13,000 miles in eight weeks, with five kids in a minivan. :) Yikes!
Even out of the car things were getting weird. The twins decided that swim goggles are fashionable, both in AND out of the pool. Determined to go to sleep wearing the goggles, it took a long time for us to convince them that their warped, suctioned eyeballs would be more comfortable without that truly handsom look. Perhaps they were fearful of suffering wood-splinter-in-the-eye their daddy? Maybe I would have been o.k. if I'd have been wearing blue swim goggles day and night. (For the record, in case there's any MAF safety people reading this...or my mom...or my wife, I was in fact wearing safety glasses while cutting the tree down. Well, I was wearing them at least 90% of the time. But it's that 10% that gets you.)

At one point we took a quick detour on old Historic Route 66. Since the kids love the movie, "Cars," it was fun for them to see the actual Route 66. It was pretty hot and barren out there!

But of course, there are still creatures waiting to be caught along the way. And Britton was all to happy to oblige this overly confident horned lizard. Of course, he was released safely back into his home, but not before being closely examined and oohed and awwwed over by a very excited reptile lover!
We enjoyed the beauty of the deserts, though obviously extremely different than what we're used to over in Indonesia.
In addition to being able to see and visit with several supporters and family along the way, we also had the chance to swing through a few National Parks on whirlwind tours. Below, Tyler (left) and Tanner (right) were hanging out in Yosemite.

And here's the kids in front of General Sherman, the largest living thing on earth by volume or mass. It was certainly a monster of a tree!
Well, now we're back in Oregon and looking forward to driving a little less. We've still got a lot going on, but are enjoying the prospect of staying mostly in one place for the remaining few months of furlough. Next Sunday we'll be sharing at Mountain View Christian Church in Gresham, OR. Contact me if you'd like details.