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!

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… 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.

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… 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!

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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!

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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.

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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! ♥

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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.

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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.

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One of the uncles, who was telling Winnie-the-Pooh stories, sounding exactly like all the characters.
Children weren’t the only ones entertained!

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My grandfather, the patriarch of the family, with the youngest grandchildren and great-grand.
This picture is so precious!

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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? :)

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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…




18 thoughts on “Ohio Trips & Tales

  1. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    yep, posting a months worth of stuff was good. real good. family is so very precious, so very much a part of who we are…so glad you had the chance for all these great connections and special times; both with family and friends.

  2. jnicolemiller

    Beautiful, Clarita. It was fun seeing pictures of Grace and Dean…she is as lovely as ever !(as are YOU! Loved that black and white ensemble, and you can really do justice to a hat!);)

  3. fruitloops115

    happy sigh. i always love when you post so it is totally fine that you went back a month love all the beautiful pictures interspersed with your real life moments, such as when your kids embarrass you and your husband orders extra OJ
    When do you guys leave?

  4. clearlyhis

    lovely, lovely. 

    lol, yes traveling w/ little ones ….. changes things.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely post Clarita.  I always enjoy reading and seeing about your travels and your life!

    roflol….about the OJ!!!

  5. ABAHM

    A wonderful month of good times. I have things from last month still to post, and they involve beach pics. I have been away from my computer so will just have to post summer in the Fall.

  6. SherriMonCheri

    We’re planning on driving to P.A. for Christmas, so I’ll make a note to take towels along just in case ;) 

    Did you know I spent a month with Merle & Sue on the W.A.T.E.R. program back in ’02?  We figured out the connection with Sue & your family and also realized that my Dad & Merle knew each other from Virginia.  Merle’s are a wonderful family and we (myself & the girl that was with me) have such fun memories of our time with them!

    I love reading your blog…your style of writing, your zest for life, your love for Jesus & your family.  A post about things that happened a month ago?  Doesn’t bother me a bit :)  Hope your packing & everything else goes well for your upcoming trip!

  7. inanorchard

    Love this catch up post! I was laughing at your traveling adventures :) Children and long car trips always make for interesting times! How fun that you got to meet Jenny! I love reading her posts and her sense of humor kills me!! The family camp reunion looked like a blast too (although a little scary at times).

    One last little thing; you are so SO beautiful my friend :)

  8. baileyandme

    haha to the last picture of chloe and friend. man, would it ever be fun if she would end up marrying him in the end– what a great display you could do at the the wedding with the old and new engagement picture!!
    loved all the pictures. :) so pretty and fun- that`s why i always love when you post.
    yes, the “always needing a potty elle”. how could i forget. was fun to hear about what you did after i saw you. sounds like the weekend only got better and better. :)
    and your aunt grace– did you make her that brown flower? i just had to ask because it`d so very you.

  9. Elizabethmarie_1

    I am so behind in the blog world too. I have been posting quickly and then jumping off. Busy season!
    Oh where do I start??? How wonderful you got to meet Mrs. baileyandme. I would like to meet her and YOU someday!!!  That would be so much fun.
    What a great trip! I can’t even begin to imagine how fun it was for all of you to be together on a big campout. I bet the kids were in their glory. Such good memories were made for all of you.
    Enjoy your week. Happy Monday to you. =)

    Glad you were safe from the tree…that must have been scary!

  10. appalolly

    So fun to hear about your trip…and awesome that you got to spend at least a little time with Jenny. She’s awesome!!  Visiting friends and hanging out with family…how fun!  And definitely thanks for God’s mercies in that you were not harmed by that lightning strike!!

  11. smilesbymiles

    Oh good!!!!!!!! Clarita posted!!! I love, love, love to read your posts! Seriously. No matter what you post about you weave in passion for good things in life and I just LOVE that about you. I always walk away feeling more inspired to weave beauty into our everyday lives, to see the humor in things that happen, to love indescribably, to know Jesus. It’s not because you try to do that … it just comes through because that is who you are. And in my quick get it done the easiest way method I often miss those things in life because I don’t just automatically see it. I hope that makes sense. You inspire me in so many ways!

  12. miller_79

    I couldn’t help laughing when you mentioned your lil girls accidents! I have 3 little girls and we’ve sure had our sure and looking back,I can laugh now,but it was mortifying then!!! I’ll never forget the day a friend invited me and my two lil kiddos to join her and her 2 ladylike lil girls for tea at a fancy little place. When I saw the fine china and the white (cloth) heart just sank! My kids were like 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. In between trying to keep them from breaking those darling lil cups every time they took a sip,and running potty,my nerves were shot! Finally I relaxed a wee bit,only to discover that the tea had run thro my dear daughter….onto those white chairs…I think I might’ve shed a few tears,and got outa there in a hurry:) Btw, in case you’re wondering,I’m Marcus Miller’s sister in law..we met at a park in GA this spring.   Have a wonderful trip!

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