Friday, January 31, 2014

The Farmer Boy's Birthday

We had just re-settled in after our "once-in-a-life-time" trip, and before we knew it, we realized it was Josiah's birthday.  We are so very thankful for this young man and all he does as a part of our now household of 6.

Josiah has a very detailed and artistic mind, and sometimes can be quite particular about the details.  His requested birthday breakfast was a January breakfast menu from the The Original White House Cook Book, 1887 Edition.  It consisted of: fried cornmeal mush with maple syrup drizzled on, hot apple sauce, fried ham slices, squash fries, Parker house rolls, and cocoa.

We were a bit busy that morning, but we managed to make time in the afternoon to go for Josiah's annual birthday hike. 

We made our way (well bundled) to Beaver Lake Trails. 

Our goal this year were visit two lakes.  They were rather off trail, and we had never found them before. 

{On the first of the lakes} 

One of Josiah's early presents was a pair of Binoculars; they came in handy for sighting some birds. 

Despite the chilly weather it was very beautiful, and we enjoyed our time in God's creation. 

This year there have been many happenings.  Earlier last year Josiah was able to purchase his truck from our dear Aunt Myrt and Uncle Warren.   The first week in January our Uncle Warren passed away.  We miss him very very much, so partly to honor him we created Josiah's cake in the shape of Uncle Warren's truck.  

Josiah has become a wonderful young man, who loves the LORD with his whole heart, is a hard worker, and such a blessing to us.

Happy Birthday Josiah Thomas!!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

There and Back Again: A Sauve Adventure Part 5

The last day in Texas had arrived.  Sunday morning we went to John and Mandi's church and then out to a Mexican Restaurant afterwards. (We had to have a well rounded taste of Texas right? ;).  We quickly packed up everything into the minivan and were able to capture a family photo before we left.  It was truly a delightful 3 days, and we are very thankful to John and Mandi for their hospitality.  We miss them and (Hercules of course!!) already and are praying that someday, somehow, we could all be closer.

So off we went, with 8-9 hours ahead of us till we made it to our destination in Texarkana, where we would stop for the night and then hope to make the grueling 18 or more hours home completely the next day. Or at least that was our plan.  We didn't have our friendly buzzing hornet strap problem, but apparently God didn't think we had learned enough patience, or complete reliance on Him (which would be entirely true) because He set another challenge in front of us.   Before we had left MI on this venture, we had known that our driver side window was being a little persnickety about coming back up, but while we were in TX, we hadn't had an issue with it at all and had pretty much forgotten about it.  Well, Sunday afternoon, right after lunch at "Senor Jaimes" we swung by the post office to drop some post cards in the box.  Of course we rolled the window down... and of course it refused to come back up. All the time we were packing, the guys were playing with the window, wiggling it, hitting it, taking it apart, fiddling with it.. nope nothin' doin'.  

Not wanting to be too delayed on our departure, and thanking God for the 60 some degree weather we drove northwards with a lovely breeze blasting us through the open window.  But the direction of our driving and the time caused us some anxiety.  That's right I said northwards, of course, and it was late afternoon so the temperature was dropping, and besides all that, Dad was having a hard time hearing anything, and the rest of us were looking a little bit like dogs in front of a blow dryer. (maybe not that bad, but it wasn't lovely) 

We had just made it through Houston and took an exit to get gas. As we tried to locate the gas station, we caught sight of a Home Depot sign.  Quickly we swung over and Dad and Josiah ran in to buy some heavy duty plastic, duck tape, and scissors (those guys think of everything :P).  We then went on to the gas station where us girls ran in for a restroom break, while the men tried to tape up our window.  When we came out, a nice gentleman was helping them fit the plastic in and tape it properly.  It turned out he was homeless, and we were very thankful for his assistance.  So we took off, Arkansas bound again... but  very quickly we were made aware of a problem caused by our solution.  There was no more breeze but... it was deafening.  Despite our attempt to tape it super tight, the plastic acted as a drum, serenading us with a horrible symphony of pounding.  Faith (who was driving) was going bonkers, and the rest of us were getting sore throats from trying to talk over the noise.  Finally Faith shouted above the cacophony inquiring if we had an extra pillow.  The pillow was passed up, and we all sighed with relief.  Silence, or at least close to it.  A second pillow completed the remedy, but of course entirely blocked the view out the left window, making driving rather stressful.

Just after midnight we crawled into our hotel in Texarkana.  We tumbled into bed only too aware that we would have to get up early enough to find a mechanic to fix our window.  That was a must.

The next morning came all to soon, as we gathered our things and headed out to our taped up mini van. One of the Hotel staff told us there was a Orr mechanic just down the service drive, so we took off south.

We didn't find the particular place so we kept on going.... back into Texas. :P  

We never did find the particular shop, but God led us to "meineke" car care center. They didn't specialize in windows but they said they thought it could be fixed, so we all  trooped into the waiting area and we waited and waited.

Thankfully they had some very interesting books (on birds and planes :) to bide our time with, and soon enough the man came to tell us that the motor was busted, but that they were able to pull up the window, and tape it.  They also in his words "put a wedge in so that the window won't fall down when y'all go over any bumps.  It's not the prettiest thing, but it'll work."

... This was our wedge. :)  They most likely found it on the ground out back, but hey, it did work, and it provided us with some really good laughs!

So we drove and drove... through Missouri... 

...over the Mississippi river...

and through Illinois, laden with the hope of Spring.  As darkness fell and we made it closer to Chicago, it began to snow, almost a white out.  This of course slowed us down some, and our ETA was moved to 3 AM.  Yes a bit late but we would rather just drive through than stop at a hotel and have to drive a little way the next day.

Finally we sighted this friendly sign.  Ahhh... Home sweet home, Oh Michigan my Michigan! :)

4 or so hours later we pulled into our snow covered driveway.  The temperature, in stark contrast to the high 50's of that morning - a blazing -1 degree! 
We were so grateful for a delightful trip and safe travels, but were glad to be home, and now our visit to that warm sunny land almost seems like a transient dream...


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

There and Back Again: A Sauve Adventure Part 4

God truly answers prayer even about simple things like birthday celebrations.  7:30 Saturday morning, I received a text from John.  They had fixed the problem at work, and he wasn't needed any more; he could come home!!!  Hooray!

We had a lovely relaxed morning starting with a special breakfast of cinnamon bread french toast drizzled with our own homemade maple syrup.

Later that day we went out to the park right on the gulf.  The water rivaled the sky for blueness, and beat it for beauty.   

Angie was at the park with the Selah and her boys; Valor and Honor.  It was fun to get to meet Honor (who adores his Uncle John) who wasn't even born last time we were down at John and Mandi's wedding 3 years ago.

Hercules was a very good boy at the park, and got LOTS of attention from passersby. He's just so handsome they couldn't help asking to pet him I guess! :)

Honor wasn't so sure about Hercules, as he had been played with a little roughly by him before, and he thought it was pretty goofy that Uncle John let Hercules give him a hug.

We enjoyed walking out on the pier (though it smelled a bit fishy) and looking down at the water.

"Happy Birthday, Uncle John!!"

After lunch John, Mandi, Dad, Faith, Josiah and I headed out to see the USS Lexington museum.  It was magnificent.

They said that the deck could hold 3 football fields.

Below deck, the quarters were a bit cramped, but there was so much down there.

There was a barber shop.

Tight little metal berths.

A very interesting Pearl Harbor exhibit, a cafeteria, a chapel, and the list goes on and on.  

We spent over 2 hours there, and barely looked at half of it.  Definitely an amazing museum.  We had noticed the fisherman down below the ship.  It was amazing how shallow the water was there.   

Mother had made this amazing cake while we were gone.  Banana Chocolate Chip cake, in the shape of Texas... but his heart's still in Michigan. :)

We had such a large supper (Homemade Pizza) that we did presents while we digested. :)

And so ended our last full day in Texas.

The story is almost complete.


Monday, January 27, 2014

There and Back Again: A Sauve Adventure Part 3

Friday was again a lovely sunny day. We were so blessed by God in the weather department, and it was very nice to be able to be outside enjoying yourself in... January.

Faith, Mumsie, and I decided to take advantage of the weather and took little "peanut butter" Hercules for a walk. We passed Palm trees, prickly pear cactus, and birds of paradise.  "We're not in Michigan anymore." :)

Dad, John, and Josiah were stuck in a risk game, so the rest of us just kind of hung out for the rest of the morning and early afternoon.  For my part, I spent time playing with and capturing on camera the adorableness which was Hercules.

The guys took a break in Risk, and we all trouped out to the vehicles to go to what turned out to be one of the highlights of our time in Texas - The Texas State Aquarium.

While we were waiting for Angie to show up (she had some passes for the aquarium and kindly agreed to come so we could use them) John and Josiah decided to try climbing a palm tree.... the thought was quickly discarded after John did a test run "hug".  Those things are mighty poky!!

It wasn't to long before Angie showed up (with her darling baby, to the delight of all) and we marched into the aquarium to see the sights.

Now, I must explain that as far back as my memory goes I had never been to an aquarium.  Apparently the oldest 2 or 3 had been taken to Sea World when they were very, very little, and we of course had been to Zoo's which always had a small aquarium section (which does not count) but otherwise, nope.  So we had no clue exactly what this was, and were prepared to be impressed.

First we walked through a section that had open tanks full of shells, and crustaceans.  Some of the shells were moving :P and we were thrilled to understand that we could touch any of them. (We are easily amused I guess.)

Another favorite were the Sea Horses.  So delicate and colorful.

We had to run out of that section before we finished, because there was to be a Sea Turtle presentation at the time.

The turtles were very friendly and swam right up to glass to say hi!

You weren't allowed to put your hand in their tanks because... they bite. :)

Because the only small aquariumish places I had been to were obviously up North, I had never to my knowledge seen a dolphin in real life.  They are truly beautiful and intelligent creatures. An absolutely amazing part of creation. 

We made it up in time for the dolphin show.  It was simply marvelous.  The way the dolphins had learned so many different maneuvers just through little hand signals given by their trainers was wonderful, and how strong they were to perform some of the flips etc.; just incredible. 

{One of my favorite parts... the ducky getting a ride on the Dolphin swimming upside down. :D }

Once the dolphin show was over :( we went down to see the other animals. One of our favorites was the otter.  This little guy was so funny and personable. He took a special liking to Faith and would chase her around and put his nose on the glass just on the other side of hers.

After seeing all there was outside, we decided to retrace our steps to the indoor exhibits which we had been forced to quit.  There were so many interesting fish, in tanks along the walls, or in columns in the middle (I did feel a little bad for those particular fish.. no privacy).

My favorite fish in the entire place would have to be... the Cow Fish.  Yup, that little dinky, thumb nail sized, pudgy pale fish in the picture above, was for some reason stuck with the appellation of "Cow Fish".

The Lion fish were beautiful to look at, but the story of how they got here and how they are taking over the area and are destroying the native fish, is rather sad.

There were Sharks and huge Tuna fish just to name a couple.  Oh, and they also had a small display tank with "Nemo" fish. ;) There were 2 Dori fish, lots of little Clown fish, with anemone and 1 funny little Bubble fish.

Two tanks full of different kinds of creepy, yet majestic looking, Jelly Fish, completed the aquatic section and we marched on into the amazon/jungle area.

Here we were able to gaze at: flashy little birds related to Toucans, A Rat-Tailed Porcupine, gaping Piranhas, Poison Dart Frogs, and a big lazy Boa.

{These Silly Putty Frogs were another favorite}

{Poor John getting chewed on by a shark :P)
While we were in the "amazon" section, a voice kept on coming over the intercom reminding us that it was coming near to closing time, so we hurried up, making a quick stop in the gift shop to grab some post cards, then homewards.

Our stop home was just a quick one, (to feed Mr. Hercules) then we all packed off to dinner. John and Mandi had decided that we couldn't leave Texas without a taste of real barbecue, so they took us to Howard's BBQ, a restaurant owned and run by good friends of theirs.

It was definitely an experience, good food, and friendly service for sure. :)

 Later that evening, John and Mandi taught us how to play Qwirkle, a fun game, basically matching shapes and colors.  While we were relaxing and enjoying the game, John received a call... from his work. You see, John wasn't scheduled to go back into work till Sunday afternoon, and the next day (Saturday) was his Birthday, and the only reason they would call him would be if they really needed him in.  He ended up letting them leave a message and then called them back, and sure enough they wanted him to come in to work at 3 AM in the morning.  After the first bout of depression, we all rallied and figured out how we would fit in his Birthday celebration, and make the best of it.
So this is how we ended our second day in Texas, and we all headed to bed, expecting not to see John till the afternoon....

Tune in soon, to hear how God always works things out for good. :)