Saturday, May 31, 2008

Days Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine

Well this will be my last written update of our trip. I will post pictures of these last four days sometime during the week, after we get home. Today was spent mostly just sitting around at the hotel. Zeke and I did hit the fitness room (and it was wonderful, after sitting in the car so much the past few days), and the kids did a lot of swimming. The wedding was at 5 o'clock, and it was a wonderful ceremony. Let me back up a little - the person getting married is my mother's Aunt Terri. She had been married to Larry, who developed cancer and died about 5 years back. I can remember meeting them both, but only briefly. For a few different reasons, that side Mum's family doesn't get together often. Anyways, Aunt Terri married a gentleman named David, who also lost his first spouse. It was beautiful the way that they incorporated the memory of their former spouses into the ceremony. I also felt it very meaningful to see the commitment Terri and David had to each other. Both had been through some rough times with the sickness and passing of their spouses, and yet, both had decided to give marriage another chance. It was an outdoor ceremony, and the sun peeped out, and the rain stopped just long enough for it! Very nice of God to do that for them. Then Mum, Grandma, and Grandpa stayed for the reception and us kids headed back to the hotel for pizza, more swimming, and of course the favorite of all - bedtime!

Tomorrow we plan to have brunch with all the family, visit Niagra Falls in the afternoon, and then drive as far as we can. Monday we will breakfast with our Great-Grandmother (Mom's Grandma), and then drive to Grandma and Grandpa's home in Illinois, where we will spend the night. The Tuesday will be the long stretch home from their house to Rolla. I cannot wait to get back. :) This has been a wonderful trip, but I really miss the peace of our home, and of course, Andy and Dad. Friends in Rolla- Give me a call or shoot me an e-mail when I get back so we can get together, okay? I miss you all. . .

Thanks for bearing with me all this time.

Day Five

We woke up and drove into Philadelphia for the day. As we came into the city, Zeke said it reminded him of LA, and we all agreed. Lots of tall buildings, cranes, and traffic. :) We took a trolley into the city, and walked around. Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and many old, historic buildings. . . very interesting. We also toured the US Mint (which Zeke was super excited about), went to the Betsy Ross house, and waited about 20 minutes for a trolley back to the parking lot. :) Our favortie part was the stories. . . they had 13 benches placed around the city, and a story teller at each one. We heard 3 stories, and they were really interesting, and fun for the kids. Then we drove through to Auburn, our final destination. I drove the last 2 hours or so, which began as nerve-racking, but definitely helped to round out my driving experience. It was windy interstate, which I've never done before - and since I struggle with driving fast, it was a challenge. But listening to the Prince and the Pauper recording kept me awake, and I got used to the speed pretty fast. We checked into our hotel around 10 pm, and were all very glad to reach our final destination!


Okay, so this is kind of a random picture. However some will appreciate it. :) Only 3 left!!

This was a sculpture in Philadelphia. It is in rememberance of all the Irish who died on their way over during the Potato Famine.

Independence Hall

The Liberty Bell

Isaac, aka George Washington. I love this kid. When we were on the trolley, a lady asked him about his "pirate hat". He corrected her quickly - "No, it's a colonial hat, like George Washington's."

Day Four

This is what I like to call our day of insanity. :) Libeth and Mum were released from the hospital at 8:30am, and we picked them up shortly after that. We drove to Mt. Vernon and spent a few hours there. Libeth was all smiles on the trip, and we are glad she is feeling better. I enjoyed Mt. Vernon even better than Monticello, but both were just amazing. Mt. Vernon overlooks the Potomac River, and the day was gorgeous. After that we drove in Washington DC. Oh my. May I recommend 2 things? One, if you are are going to tour DC, do so either on foot, or on a tour bus. And two, if you decide to drive through the city in your own vehicle, get a map that is up-to-date, and accurate. :) However, I will refrain from dwelling on our negative experiences, and focus on the positive. We were planning to just drive through and look at things from the car, but we were actually able to go into the Jefferson Memorial, and the National Archives Building. We saw the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. We saw some friends from Rolla while waiting in line there, which was interesting to say the least. Then we drove as far out of the city as we could before stoppping for the night just past Baltimore. We ate at a very authentic Mexican restaurant. . .amazing food. Made my mouth water in anticipation of our trip to Cali coming up. :D


The lovely Mt. Vernon

View of the river from Mt. Vernon - the picture doesn't do it justice. :)

Here is Miss Libeth, back to her happy, goofy self! We are so thankful that she is better! I think she is using the sun shade on her stroller as a head-rest.

Isaac dressed as George Washington - he was absolutely thrilled when we found a "George Washington" hat to buy. He wears it all the time. :D

The Lincoln Memorial - unfortunately, this is about as close as we got.

The Capitol Building

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial - the words engraved on the walls are truly a testament to the faith of our Founding Fathers. It is wonderful reminder of the Christian foundation of our nation, something that is often forgotten in this crazy, busy city.

Me, Libeth, Isaac, Zeke, and our friend Patrick (from Rolla!), in front of the National Archives Building. I believe Abby's head is behind Zeke's - she is someday going to regret ducking out of all the photos. :D

Day Three

Well our first real adventure was last night. As Isaac said when we woke up "I never want to go through another night like that!!" He, Mum, Libeth, and I were in a hotel room together, and it was pretty awful. Libeth cried most of the night - she had a fever, our air conditioner was not working, and she threw up. :( Since she had been coughing most of the trip, Mum thought it'd be wise to take her to the doctor. Thanks to Grandma's friend Maryanne, we were able to find a hospital in Charlottesville. She and Grandpa dropped the rest of us off at Monticello, while they took her to the ER. We really loved the tour of Monticello. The weather was wonderful, and it was just really great. Then we went to visit Mum, found that Elizabeth had pneumonia, and would be spending the night at the hospital. Grandma and Grandpa then took us around downtown Charlottesville. It was nice, but of course, worrying about little Libeth put a bit of a damper on the afternoon. We spent the night at Maryanne and her husband Skip's house. It was so nice, and we are very thankful that they so graciously opened their home.

A few photos of Monitcello is all for this day. Abby wrote a great summary of our tour in the trip journal, but I will refrain from typing it out, since I still have two days to update on. :)




The gardens, which Zeke was especially interested in.

We took so many photos of the flowers on the flower path, but this was my favorite, probably because of the color.

A unique bench in downtown Charlottesville. It was a mosaic. . . so cool. We wanted to buy it, but we don't have space in the van. ; )

And here is the dear little sickie. Poor thing had the "splint" on her arm to keep the IV from bending. She slept most of the time in the hospital, which was a blessing. Mum was able to spend the night with her, also a blessing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Day Two

I'm sorry that it's been a while since I've updated about the trip. We have been without internet access for various reasons until tonight. I'll still do it day-by-day though, and write more than any of you ever wanted to know. ; )

Well today was mostly driving. The younger kids are being good travelers for the most part, but I am just about out of entertaining ideas for them. :) This morning we drove through the lovely land of Kentucky on a few different scenic routes, and saw lots of horses and horse farms. It was truly amazing, all the black fences and huge homes. Abby got to sit up front for that stretch of the trip, and "ooh and aah" over all the horses, and colts. Then we continued through West Virginia, and little ways into Virginia. This is really a beautiful area. The Appalachian Mountains are small compared to the Sierras, which we are used to, but they are still amazing. We decided to take a break from the highway, and drove through the very historic town of Lewisburg. It has over 60 buildings from the 1800s (I'm not sure if that's exactly right, but it sounds about so. . . ), and a very quaint little downtown with all sorts of cafes and shops. Then we drove through the grounds of the Greenbrier, a formerly 5 star hotel. We couldn't see any reason why it is now a 4 star - it was amazing! Grandma and Grandpa said that the presidents used to spend their summers there, before air conditioning made Washington D.C. bearable during the summer. :) From there, we went by a wooden bridge which has some significance. . . I can't recall at the moment what it is, but it was a beautiful little spot. Then Chinese for dinner (!!), and to Lexington for a hotel . . .
Favorite Quotes from today:
(Talking about where we are going the next few days) "Isn't Mount Vernon the one with the faces?" -Abby
"I just LOVE Chinese restaurants, mostly because all the people speech French." -Isaac
Becky: Okay Isaac, let's just be quiet for a while.
Isaac: All right, I'll shut my gob.

A big thank you to the Nisbetts for allowing us to join you in the Prince and the Pauper this year! The recording of that has been our best distraction this trip. Never have I seen everyone in the car so attentive, for so long. :)

Signing Off,


P.S. Here are a few photos. Check out Day One for more photos if you haven't already.

Okay, this is a little weird, but these bugs were ALL OVER one of the rest-stops in W. Virginia. It was so gross!!

One of the beautiful farms in KY.Horses. . . . need I say more?

So this is the Greenbrier Hotel. And this is just the main building. It's got tons of little cabins (well actually BIG cabins) and the grounds are amazing.

And this is the "Humpback Bridge". Pretty exciting.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Day One

Departure Time: 9:09am (Pretty good for planning to leave at 9!)

Well we are on day one of our family vacation. :) I think I may have forgetten the proper cords to download photos, so it may just be boring words. At least until I have a chance to thoroughly search the van tomorrow. Today we had lots of fun. We mostly drove, but also took a few hours at Lincoln's boyhood home in Indiana. It was really cool, because in addition to the museum, they had a living history farm. They actually farm, and have animals, and live as Lincoln and his family did. Mum and I both decided that we would have to throw away our computers to have the time to do all that they do. We saw a king snake, then drove on, through a town called "Santa Claus" (I'm not even joking), and ate dinner in Shelbyville at a Cracker Barrel. We are staying here tonight at a hotel with a very cold swimming pool, and wireless that isn't working. :/

Favorite Quotes from today:
"How do you say diet soda in Polish?" - Zeke
"I don't like eating at this rest-stop because it's wet. I think though that when it isn't wet, it probably isn't as wet. " - prefers to remain annonymous

Most interesting wildlife spotted:
King Snake
Red Fox
Very dead deer on the side of the road

Love you all, and wish you were here!

P.S. I found the cords and software!! So here are some photos from our first day:

Abby Swinging at our first rest stop - the wet one. :)

Copy of the Gettysburg Address at Lincoln's boyhood home in Indiana.

At the Living Farm at Lincoln's Boyhood Home.

I think we had been driving for about 30 minutes with the tank on Empty before we found this gas stop. Thank you Lord that we didn't add running out of gas to our adventures this day!

Did you know that most gas pumps will stop at $100? We didn't either until gas prices reached over $4/gal., at least out here in the east.

Hangman Game between Becky and Zeke (I won!)

Grandma and Grandpa playing checkers at Cracker Barrel

Sunday, May 25, 2008

An Update

Well it has been a while, and I have a whole bunch of photos to put up. . . but that's going to have to wait. :) Mum, Abby, Zeke, Isaac, Elizabeth, Grandma and Grandpa Douglass, and I are going on an 8 day road trip to upstate New York. My Grandpa's sister (my Mum's aunt) is getting remarried, and Mum and Dad thought it was a good chance to take us kids to some historical places in New England. We are leaving tomorrow in the morning as soon as we can get packed up. . . I think we might have internet access along the way, when we stop at hotels and such, but no guarantees. If not, I will most certainly try and post once we get back. Although it's going to be go-go-go from then until school starts back up in August. The week after NY, we are going on a float/camping trip. Then a few days after that we are flying to California, where I will be staying a week. At the end of June, some friends from Norway will be visiting for a week. . . after which Andy and I are going to TREX (wOOt!). Then my aunt and cousins from Dubai (U.A.E.) will be staying with us for a while. And at the end of July we are having a family reunion to celebrate my Dad's parent's 50th anniversary. Talk about busy. . . I would so appreciate your prayers for our family as we begin this whirlwind summer. I'm sure you all understand how easy it can be to get so caught up in all the activities that we lose sight of what really matters. . . then again, I'm sure no one else has that problem, right? ; )

God Bless, and drop me an e-mail to let me know what you're up to this summer!



Well there aren't any really great photos. . . most of the people in our family who are normally taking pictures were somehow involved in the ceremony or reception and didn't have the time. There are a few though. . . thank you so much to everyone who was able to come celebrate with us! I felt it went really well - not too short, and not too long. Mr. Hickle was the speaker, and he did an excellent job. The reception was neat. We all had table set up with photos and things we've done throughout highschool. And then afterwards, just about all our friends were able to come over to our house and party. :)
This is me and two of the other graduates, making desserts for the reception. Yum!

Here are all the graduates - Elizabeth, Me, Andy, Julie, and Bethany

Mum, Me, Andy, and Dad

The whole family

While reading my biography . . .

While reading Andy's biography. . .

This was what was in my "diploma" when I opened it. Zephan had typed up an "application for a diploma", gotten both my parents to sign it, and printed the "rejected" stamp on it. I almost fell out of my seat laughing, which would have been very un-graduate-like. ;)

Graduation Cake

Party afterwards - the adults taking a turn at Volleyball

Playing the "bottle game"

And the teenagers playing volleyball

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What personality type are you?

I thought this was interesting. . .

Portrait of an ISTJ - Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging
The Duty Fulfiller

ISTJs are quiet and reserved individuals who are interested in security and peaceful living. They have a strongly-felt internal sense of duty, which lends them a serious air and the motivation to follow through on tasks. Organized and methodical in their approach, they can generally succeed at any task which they undertake.

ISTJs are very loyal, faithful, and dependable. They place great importance on honesty and integrity. They are "good citizens" who can be depended on to do the right thing for their families and communities. While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor and can be a lot of fun - especially at family or work-related gatherings.

ISTJs tend to believe in laws and traditions, and expect the same from others. They're not comfortable with breaking laws or going against the rules. If they are able to see a good reason for stepping outside of the established mode of doing things, the ISTJ will support that effort. However, ISTJs more often tend to believe that things should be done according to procedures and plans. If an ISTJ has not developed their Intuitive side sufficiently, they may become overly obsessed with structure, and insist on doing everything "by the book".

The ISTJ is extremely dependable on following through with things which he or she has promised. For this reason, they sometimes get more and more work piled on them. Because the ISTJ has such a strong sense of duty, they may have a difficult time saying "no" when they are given more work than they can reasonably handle. For this reason, the ISTJ often works long hours, and may be unwittingly taken advantage of.

The ISTJ will work for long periods of time and put tremendous amounts of energy into doing any task which they see as important to fulfilling a goal. However, they will resist putting energy into things which don't make sense to them, or for which they can't see a practical application. They prefer to work alone, but work well in teams when the situation demands it. They like to be accountable for their actions, and enjoy being in positions of authority.

The ISTJ has little use for theory or abstract thinking, unless the practical application is clear.ISTJs have tremendous respect for facts. They hold a tremendous store of facts within themselves, which they have gathered through their Sensing preference. They may have difficulty understanding a theory or idea which is different from their own perspective. However, if they are shown the importance or relevance of the idea to someone who they respect or care about, the idea becomes a fact, which the ISTJ will internalize and support. Once the ISTJ supports a cause or idea, he or she will stop at no lengths to ensure that they are doing their duty of giving support where support is needed.

The ISTJ is not naturally in tune with their own feelings and the feelings of others. They may have difficulty picking up on emotional needs immediately, as they are presented. Being perfectionists themselves, they have a tendency to take other people's efforts for granted, like they take their own efforts for granted. They need to remember to pat people on the back once in a while.

ISTJs are likely to be uncomfortable expressing affection and emotion to others. However, their strong sense of duty and the ability to see what needs to be done in any situation usually allows them to overcome their natural reservations, and they are usually quite supporting and caring individuals with the people that they love. Once the ISTJ realizes the emotional needs of those who are close to them, they put forth effort to meet those needs.

The ISTJ is extremely faithful and loyal. Traditional and family-minded, they will put forth great amounts of effort at making their homes and families running smoothly. They are responsible parents, taking their parenting roles seriously. They are usually good and generous providers to their families. They care deeply about those close to them, although they usually are not comfortable with expressing their love. The ISTJ is likely to express their affection through actions, rather than through words.

ISTJs have an excellent ability to take any task and define it, organize it, plan it, and implement it through to completion. They are very hard workers, who do not allow obstacles to get in the way of performing their duties. They do not usually give themselves enough credit for their achievements, seeing their accomplishments simply as the natural fulfillment of their obligations.

ISTJs usually have a great sense of space and function, and artistic appreciation. Their homes are likely to be tastefully furnished and immaculately maintained. They are acutely aware of their senses, and want to be in surroundings which fit their need for structure, order, and beauty.

Under stress, ISTJs may fall into "catastrophe mode", where they see nothing but all of the possibilities of what could go wrong. They will berate themselves for things which they should have done differently, or duties which they failed to perform. They will lose their ability to see things calmly and reasonably, and will depress themselves with their visions of doom.

In general, the ISTJ has a tremendous amount of potential. Capable, logical, reasonable, and effective individuals with a deeply driven desire to promote security and peaceful living, the ISTJ has what it takes to be highly effective at achieving their chosen goals - whatever they may be.

It kind of freaks me out how well this describes me. :) If you want to take the test and find out your personality type, this is my favorite one.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lessons from the Wildflowers

A few days ago I was out on my daily walk, moping about the weather and how drab everything seems. It hasn't been all that bad, but the cold this year is really getting to me! I am very ready for spring to fully come, in all her splendor. So anyways, here I was, bemoaning the cold, when I decided to look around me. And what did I see but signs of spring and beauty everywhere! I discovered that even though the temperature might not be doing just what I want it to do, the flowers and grass seem to be handling everything okay. It brought to mind those well-known verses, Matthew 6:27-34. This version is The Message. . . although I normally use the NIV, I really liked the way it paraphrased this:

"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."
Lord, how often am I so focused on myself, and worrying about my own preferences (like it being too cold for my taste) that I fail to 1. notice those around me, and 2. trust in You and what You're doing in my life? What a silly thing to spend time on, complaining about the cold! Please give me that thankful, unworried spirit that glorifies You. May I direct my entire attention to You alone my Precious Jesus.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Photos. . .

Okay, although this is rather gross looking, I find it funny. This is a pile of Zeke and Isaac's hair after the last round of haircuts. Zeke hadn't cut his for a couple months because of the play we were in, and it'd been a while for Isaac too. They look very sharp and handsome with their new buzz cuts.

Way too cute!

Sigh. . . people grow up too fast! Abby is becoming such a beautiful young lady. Some days I suspect she may catch up to me anytime. . .

No more pictures!

Racing somewhere. . .