Thursday, November 01, 2007

Here and There...

Well, it's taken awhile to get settled back into things. But for disruptions such as we've had this past month, we're willing to take the time!

On October 11, the travels began. Unfortunately, we somehow managed to come home with very few pictures... and I think some of those that were taken are still on the camera that Josh took with him today for his weekend trip. So here is a mainly textual report of the last three weeks:

In the early morning, Mom and I (Jessica) flew out of Milwaukee airport to Seattle, to spend 10+ days in Washington state. That same afternoon, Josh (and Luke VH) flew out of O'Hare airport to Phoenix, Arizona, for a weekend conference.

Arriving in Seattle around the time when Josh and Luke left, Mom and I were in for a treat during our stay. The Washington homeschool organization had invited Mom and I to speak at their annual Mother Daughter teas. The first was held on Saturday, October 13, in Olympia, WA, and the second the following Saturday in Spokane. While technically, we were there to encourage the mothers and daughters in Washington, the truth is that the entire trip was a blessing and refreshment to both of us. The time spent between teas at the Bradrick home was a special time of relaxing and visiting, of resting, housework - and the familiar projects of running a state organization! They did also take a day out of their busy schedule to take us "inlanders" to see the Pacific.

While we were enjoying being hospitably pampered in Washington for a week, Dad also flew out to the Northwest - only his destination was a pastors conference in Idaho. While Dad was flying, Mom and I were enjoying a quiet evening with a cell phone close at hand waiting for it to ring with "The News!"

At the end the week, Mom and I traveled across the mountains through central Washington to Spokane, where the Craig family opened their home to us during our final days in the northwest. The second of the two teas was held that Saturday, and once again, all went very well. Both teas were beautifully hosted, and we had the opportunity to speak with many ladies, from Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, California, and Canada - and surprisingly we saw several familiar faces and former Illinoisans there!

Spokane is located right on the Washington/Idaho border, and so after the tea, Dad drove over and picked up Mom and took her back to Idaho to spend the rest of the weekend visiting with our friends, the Leidenfrosts. I returned to the Craig's house with the Bradrick ladies, for a fun social evening with their families, and some of the other ladies who helped to host the event.

Elsewhere, that evening, a suburban full of people and stuff from Illinois arrived in San Antonio, Texas. Josh, and crew (which included Joseph, and Abbey, of course!) had driven the 20+ hours from home and arrived safe and sound in Texas in preparation for Vision Forum's Film Academy and Festival.

Back in Washington, Sunday was spent with the Craigs and then returning with the Bradricks to western Washington. On Monday, while Amy Ellen Bradrick and I flew from Seattle down to San Antonio, Dad dropped Mom off at the Spokane airport to fly back home, and then he returned to Idaho for another meeting before flying home later in the week.

If you have followed all this so far, you're doing better than most of us. Dad had to make a color coded calendar and post it in the kitchen so we could keep everything straight!

Okay, so we're up to Monday, October 22nd - Mom is now back home with Jonathan, Joanna and Josiah, Dad is still in Idaho, Josh, Abbey and Joseph (and Luke and Ethan) are in Texas recording the sessions and running the AV at Vision Forum's Film Academy, and Jessica's plane is hitting turbulence somewhere over Colorado and will arrive in San Antonio later in the evening.

Tuesday and Wednesday Josh and crew stayed busy at the Academy, while Abbey and I ran all over San Antonio grocery shopping and preparing for the big weekend. On Thursday-Saturday was Vision Forum's annual Film Festival and Josh and crew again ran the AV for the event. Abbey and I were also busy - but in a very different venue. Out of our hotel room in San Antonio, we were catering meals for about 80 Film Festival staff and volunteers. We had a great time together making memories, building our new sisterly relationship, and, of course, discussing wedding ideas! The room we served the meals in (pictured below) is a community room located just above a Mexican restaurant in downtown San Antonio.

We also enjoyed witnessing the evening events of the festival and meeting or catching up with friends from around the country who were also in town for the event. If Abbey can remember names and faces for even half the people she was introduced to that week, she'll be doing well!

On that Thursday, Dad flew home from Idaho, and on Saturday all of the family that was at home headed down to Peoria for a Reformation Day Faire, hosted by Providence Church. Reports are that they had a great time - but our "main" camera is broken, so no pictures, other than this one of Joanna!

The familial dispersion finally began to draw to a close on Sunday when all the leftover food stuff, all of Josh's equipment, all 7 of us and all our personal stuff actually fit into the suburban (it was close, but we were able to actually close all the vehicle doors and windows with everything inside).

After the church service, we bid "adios" to the Alamo and hit the trail homeward! A little over 20 hours later, we arrived home and appropriately celebrated the end of our travels by going to bed.

We arrived home on Monday, the 29th. On Tuesday, the Hill family came over for a special celebratory dinner, and then on Wednesday (that would be yesterday) we had about 80 people from church here for the afternoon and evening. Today, we've done some more unpacking and settling back in, sent Josh off again (with Abbey's family for a family celebration in West Virginia this weekend), taught piano lessons, and got the house ready for the events of tomorrow - Applesauce making! Oh, and we have Caroline and William here for the evening and overnight.

Speaking of whom, the little laddie has just strolled into the office for a little visit and wants to play with his auntie for a little bit - and as he ranks pretty high on my priority list, I've got to bring this already-way-too-long post to a conclusion! Because as absolutely wonderful as the trips were, and as precious as was the time spent with dearly loved friends, home-ties are pretty strong around here and it's good to be back again!


Mrs. Webb said...

Wow! Welcome home and to see you all in church, you would never have guessed all that was going on!--no signs of fatigue or such! The bon fire at your house was wonderful and you all are sooo hospitable. Thank you to all of you for a delightful evening. Chilli couldn't have been better! You did a great job keeping everyone's whereabouts.

Ruth said...

Is it naptime yet? I'm exhausted just reading your post!

Welcome home!!! We missed your posts.

Congratulations to Josh and Abbey.

Justin Kelly said...

I heard the police got involved on the drive home from SA......... :)

Stinnett Family said...

It was great reading an update on the Erbers and see pictures of your travels! You all are a busy family! :)
The last picture with little William is so sweet!