August 1, 2011– Monday Morning
We’re doing a bit better. Daniel wanted to leave around 7 am this morning. We pulled out at 8:24 am! Woo hoo! :) I think I have it figured out. Three Hours. That’s just the realistic time. It takes 3 hours to get it all done...my shower/dress, time with the Lord, getting everyone up, dressed, hair done, quiet times, pack-up, load-up, clean-up, breakfast. So if we want to leave at 7 am, I need to get up at 4 am. Hmmm….I guess that’s why we have left late every day! :) But 8:30 am isn’t bad at all! And I’m sure we’ll get a bit better at it all and maybe be able to cut our time down.
Since Daniel is the driver (because I’m way to scared to drive pulling the trailer), I try to let him sleep as long as he can since I don’t want him sleeping while driving. :) Of course, it’s a bit hard when we’re all together in a room or two to sleep once the crew is up and about.
As I’ve been posting from this journal to our blog, many have written asking about the reality of traveling so many miles with all the children. While some may be hopeful to hear a special system or formula to make it all work/run perfectly, I don’t have it. Honestly, it doesn’t run perfectly or smoothly, it is exhausting, plain hard work, and the same struggles we have at home (being kind, loving, and sharing) are still there just stuffed into a space the size of our van. We still have about 4-5 loads of laundry a day, the children still seem to want to eat every 2 hours, and there just isn’t a lot to do in a car, especially for those who take after their mommy and get car sick before the car even starts moving. Traveling in NV and AZ during August….it’s hot!! And then there is melt down time. It happens usually right before naps and then right before bedtime. It’s when anywhere from 1-8 children start crying all at once. Usually very serious issues. “Someone has their feet on my spot.” “He’s taking my pillow”. “My seatbelt is hurting me.” “I can’t lay down”. “I lost my granola bar”. It’s not just the children. Mommy cries sometimes too. And of course, there’s those time we get lost. Daniel drives. I’m the co-pilot. I have the map. And anyone who knows me would now start to laugh. I promise I do try my very best. Sometimes, by God’s grace, I do really well. And other times, well, that’s why we always try to get an early start.
Well, I don’t share all this to complain but to give a picture of some of the realities of traveling. But I’ve found that with any trial, great or small, there is double the blessing. All these difficulties give us so much opportunity to learn and grow. To forgive and apply those precious truths and commands in God’s Word. To truly have to get on our knees and ask for the Lord to do the work in our hearts. Patience, grace, love, joy, peace, and understanding. Those are always things I am asking Him to work in my children and I at home and what better way to learn those things than to have to practice them! It’s easy to show love when someone is loving and everything is going well. But it’s not possible when someone is not so loveable or grumpy. It’s not possible for us to do. But Christ is in us! And what a wonderful thing to be able to just die to self and let Him work what He wants to in our lives!
What do we do in the car together for hours? We love to sing! Sleep. Visit. Snacks. Travel games. Look out the window at the sights...that alone is a real treat as there is so much to see here compared to our little desert!
What about meals? Sandwiches. Dollar Menu with some snacks on the side (pretzels, fruit, chips, granola bars). Lots of water. And already some kind churches/families have provided at hot meal for us, too. And that’s no small sacrifice for which we are soooo grateful!
Laundry. Last night, the pastor’s wife gave me free reign of her beautiful machines and I knocked out almost every load we had! Praise the Lord! We just do laundry as often as we can, whenever we can, however we can, where ever we can. Sometimes, if we haven’t been able to wash for a while, the best option is to bit the bullet and find a laundry mat where we can just do 30 loads at once. My girls are great helps!!
Packing- Right now, everyone has their own personal suitcase/duffle bag. Daniel and I share (because we love each other and love to be together :) ). The oldest 2 girls share a huge suitcase. And I have the littlest three boys clothes all together in a big duffle bag. We’ve never done it this way before. Normally, I put one days worth of clothing into a suitcase or two. That way, we only have to pull out that suitcase(s) for the night rather than unloading everything. But we were so rushed for time with having just gotten back from family camp that it just worked out best for everyone to pack their own bag. But I’m hoping as soon as we have time (maybe this week!) to reorganize back to my original system. Everyone has their own blanket/pillow. We can sleep anywhere, really! And being so tired each night, even a floor feels sooo good. Everyone also has their own backpack with all their own personal, special belongings...Bibles, toys, notebooks, stuffed animals etc… Everyone is in charge of keeping their own area clean. Free of garbage, toys, paper, etc… Usually, I’ll say, “Okay, I’ve got a snack to pass out. As soon as your area is clean, you can have one. And they all hop right to it.
Today we spent most of the day broken down in Arizona. While it wasn’t something we would have chosen, the Lord allowed it, and therefore, we give thanks. The children did really well all things considering. After leaving the van at the shop, we walked over to Carl’s for lunch. Poor Josiah had woke up with a good fever and Nehemiah, Noah, and Samuel weren’t feeling too good either. I gave them some medicine and then we just sat in Carl’s Jr. for a while. Everyone colored and played games with notebook paper/pencils. Once the medicine had helped make the little guys feel better, we walked down a block or so to a local park. The one who didn’t feel good rested under a shade tree on a blanket and everyone had a couple hours to run around and play.
I found a huge stag beetle on the grass. I gave it to my boys and felt like a brave/good mommy for finding them such a treasure. Then one of my boys went up to where Rebekah/Abi and some other girls were playing and pretended to set the beetle on this little girl’s head to scare her. She got scared. And cried. And ran over to tell her mommy. Then I didn’t feel like such a good mommy then.
Well, we are on our way now again heading into Phoenix soon. There is an incredible lightening storm right now keeping everyone very entertained! Hoping to be in Fort Thomas by 12-1 am.
2:30 am- We arrived in Fort Thomas about an hour ago. What a long drive! But so thankful to be here safely! We are staying at Regeneration Ministries where Daniel’s cousin/life long friend and his wife serve in the ministry here. They gave us 4 rooms complete with enough beds for everyone, 2 bathrooms, a/c and the church kitchen to use. And a washer and dryer!!!! We feel so spoiled!
Daniel and Tom (his cousin) are up chatting away. The children are all tucked in bed sleeping soundly. Poor Josiah is still sick. :( He threw up 2x today...thankfully both times outside and not in the van. I made up a bed for him on the floor beside our bed just in case he needs me in the night and am praying he’ll feel better by tomorrow. Good night!