So it’s another Saturday where Husband is working in order to finish up jobs because we leave,
and when my wonderful sister Claudia was here for the whole week
and we are still in mourning over her leaving this morning,
and where the girlies think their mother is not nearly so exciting and fun as Auntie Claudia,
and where I’m thinking of happy weeks gone by.
Do people even do a post about things back a month or so ago?
I rarely see them, but the past month has been sooo wonderful and full of good things
that I just want to recap it and remember it all over again.
I feel out of the loop with blogging, so let’s see how this goes…
This is going to be more of a narrative than anything, just so you know. :)
It’s been a busy month – two trips, and some visitors inbetween.
I’ll start with the trip to the lovely state of Ohio!
Our entire trip was filled to the brim with friendships and family.
Just so so fun!
Our main purpose for the trip was to attend the Barkman Family Campout,
an annual tradition with my dad’s family and one we rarely have been able to attend.
And while we were traveling anyway, visiting some friends we rarely get to see.
I jotted down little snippets from our trip as it went along. It started out with…
… Zoe’s accident in Olivia’s car seat minutes before leaving. (!!!) With no time time to wash the seat, we stuffed it with towels. Hey, you gotta do what ya gotta do, gross though it is.
… a stop at Cracket Barrel some hours into the trip. We always stop at the said restaurant, if Ben has any say about it. Good old fashioned cooking, that’s his favorite. The waiter brought out the expensive glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice that we ordered and wondered who it went to. “Well, we all ordered one,” Ben joked, as he likes to do with dry humor, just wanting to the waiter to know how much we love that O.J. A few minutes later I burst into gales of laughter when the waiter brought out THREE more glasses, and Ben’s faces was a mixture of terror and astonishment as the $$$ signs danced in front of him. “I can’t pay for all those juices! They’re terribly expensive!” Apparently not everyone knows when he’s joking. We paid for the 4.
… Olivia’s accident in the same car seat on top of the said towel while sleeping. Seriously. We dug out more towels from the camping stash for the weekend. Traveling sure is different with kiddos. :)
… laughing and laughing with Zoe and Olivia in the backseat as we sang silly songs at the top of our lungs like, ” Down By the Bay” and “Five Little Ducks”.
… priceline-ing a hotel. Disappointed by the old Ramada, but you know, although I’d much prefer a Hampton or something of that quality, a good reminder that all is temporal. As Ben reminded me jokingly to cheer up my disappointment, “Just pretend you’re in Asia [with my sisters who were still there at that point] and then this would be really nice then!” Very very true.
… Zoe’s excitement over the hotel. She was telling all her friends before we left about the hotel. I don’t think she ever remembered staying at one before. :)
… Oliva woke up the next morning at the hotel before anyone else and was so disoriented. She bolted for the door and had we not grabbed her who knows where she would have ended up.
… finally arriving in Bay Village, Ohio, to visit my dear aunt and uncle Dean and Grace, and my cousin Katherine! They treated us royally, and we had a splendid day together. Grace does so well with making guests feel so special. There were orchids on the bathroom mirror. Chocolates and a welcome note on the guest bed. Even a rosette on the toilet tissue, made from the tissue itself.
My Aunt Grace and I are as close in age as she and my mother, so she’s always felt like a big sister to me.
I love her so dearly! She is the epitomy of her name ~ so gracious and sweet and beautiful!
… Olivia made herself right at home by squatting down on their patio and doing some serious potty business within 1/2 hour of arrival. That child never ceases to embarrass me.
… enjoying a beautiful walk through a nature preserve or park, seeing unafraid deer.
… Uncle Dean treated us all to ice cream at a little shoppe right at the edge of Lake Erie.
… yard saling with my aunt Grace Thursday morning. Finding a Bitty Baby doll (American Girl) for $15, after just mentioning less than a week before that I would love to find one of those, but never dreaming I would! Also finding a lovely collection of the Little Kelly’s and some of their play things for $2 -saving them for our long trip out west. Quite a few Usborne books about animals and the world for a dollar or two each. Seriously, yard sales in my aunt’s area of unbelieveable!
After spending a day in the northern part of Ohio, we headed south a bit…
… and I met this lovely woman for the very first time at Wallhouse Coffee!
Jenny has been someone I have long wanted to meet, and each time I attempted it before it just didn’t work.
I was holding my breath on this trip, but plans worked for a teency-weency hour together. In between her little girl needing to go potty twice and my littlest peeing herself it seemed like five minutes. :) I loved her instantly. She is just as real and sweet as her blog, and I counted it an honor to meet her in real life! I think we could have talked hours if given the opportunity. I hope one day! :)
And our little girls played together as though they’d known each other for years. It was so precious.
I was so happy they got to meet each other.
Our trip continued, and we spent the night at the sweet home of Jared and Dora. We have long been friends, and have made memories together at Bible School, in Asia, in Ohio, and Pennsylvania. She is one of those people that make me laugh like few people can, and is just a sweetheart! She and Jared treated us like honored guests. We just had the best time, and wished it could have been longer! ♥
Friday morning we wound around the hill country of southern Ohio and arrived at the Barkman Campout!
Beautiful weather for most of the weekend, much cooler than our Georgian weather, and wonderful company.
This family numbers over 60 people, and yet is such a close-knit family.
My grandparents had one daughter and seven sons, and they are tight as can be.
I absolutely LOVE being with them.
We can talk honestly and we can laugh until tears stream down our cheeks.
Such a great bunch.
It makes it feel as though everything is right with the world. :)
Six of the seven brothers. My aunt and her husband are in Africa as missionaries, and weren’t able to be there.
These brothers are such clowns. Here they are trying to intimidate the younger generation before the annual ball game by belting out, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
The girls just loved it too. Even though they rarely see this side of my family, they found friends right away.
I loved that.
One of the uncles, who was telling Winnie-the-Pooh stories, sounding exactly like all the characters.
Children weren’t the only ones entertained!
My grandfather, the patriarch of the family, with the youngest grandchildren and great-grand.
This picture is so precious!
We were tent camping all weekend, and awoke Sunday morning to thunder and then rain.
Thankfully, there was a large tarp that we all huddled under and that was big enough for most of us to stay fairly dry. :)
But we were so so thankful for the mercy of God when a bolt of lightning struck a tree 30 feet from where the entire family was standing. It didn’t even sound like the normal thunder, it was just a huge CrAcK that made the ears feel tingly. Amazingly, no one was hurt, even though people standing in the direction of the lightning saw the balls of fire rolling down the tree, and even though there was water standing everywhere on the ground. We all smelled the burnt smell, and were so sobered as we realized how tragic that could have been. Seriously, several, if not many, of us could have been wiped out with that powerful bolt of lightning. Truly, death and life are in the hand of God, and no one goes before the appointed time…
Our final stop on the way home was our friends Daniel and Anita, and their three beautiful children.
They lived in Georgia for 2.5 years, and we missed them so much when they moved back to Ohio!
I love this picture. They posed entirely on their own, Blake giving directions to Zoe as to how they should stand. Can you tell he has very affectionate parents? :)
We were going to drive as many hours as we could after leaving their house, and then stop by the road only long enough to sleep enough to drive again.
That idea only lasted one hour of driving time, and then we parked in a McD’s parking lot and spent a MiSeRaBlE three hours before we finally broke down and got a hotel at 1am. :) That was the best thing we could have done, and we were all happier the next morning for it!
And that’s the recap of our lovely week spent in Ohio… It all worked out so perfectly in between Ben’s jobs and getting to be with all the wonderful people we saw.
I came back with a full heart, and lovely memories!
Friendship, and relationship, truly, are life’s sweetest gifts…