...choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Joshua 24:25

The whole fabric of society rests upon the home.
-Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, August 6, 2010

I can go for miles, and miles, and miles!

Greetings dear family and friends!

It is time to regale you with stories and pictures from our drive from Texas to Alaska! Please enjoy!
(posts won't always be this long...just till we get caught up!)

Day 1: San Antonio, TX to Albuquerque, NM
The first and longest drive of our journey began early in the morning. Thinking we'd get a few hours under our belts before the children woke up, we left at about 5 am and soon learned that we were wrong. Kyra held out the longest...alert and awake till 10 am. She slept for half an hour. Our first stop was in El Paso at around lunchtime, but food was not the first thing on our minds. Good self-respecting Texans that we are (were?), we headed straight for the Luchesse boot store and we each found a new pair of cowboy boots (mine are cherry red!) Bellies full, and car more stuffed than before, we drove on to ABQ where my sister lives with her husband and son. Cousin Joshua greeted us with his customary hugs and giggles. What a blessing to have such a delightful little boy in our family. His boundless energy and cheerful chatter kept us entertained for two days and nights. Running, biking, walking, climbing, jumping fun!  He is brave and friendly and wonderful and we can't wait to take him skiing!
may God shower blessings upon the inventor of silly string!
higher, Auntie Meghan!


Day 3: Albuquerque, NM to Salt Lake City, UT
Save a little traffic just outside out destination  city, and the disappointment of learning that 4 Corners was closed, this was a beautiful day of driving. The sky was clear and bright, the desert barren and beautiful, the trees full and green. In Moab, we stopped for lunch and ate on the outdoor patio of the Moab Brewery, our food lightly sprinkled with "snow" from the cottonwood trees. After checking into our hotel in SLC, we had enough time to walk into town and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearse. What a "joyful noise" it was! The sight of Kyra strapped in her carrier caused some uproarious laughter amongst some young folk on the sidewalk, which of course, gave us all cause to smile, though I didn't know a baby in a backpack was really all that funny! Salt Lake City is beautiful. The streets are wide, the sidewalks clean, and even the office buildings are surrounded with flowers and landscaped land.
the view from our room

(just a wee bit of the song...the lyrics were touching, we being homeless and all!)

Day 5: Salt Lake City, UT to Boise, ID
Again, we were blessed with beautiful weather, and clear roads for this little jaunt. We stayed only one night, hungrily enjoying fish 'n chips at an Irish Pub, and a walk into town where a wedding party had stopped for photographs in front of a fountain. Having just celebrated our 12th anniversary, it was a sweet, poignant vision of the newness and excitement of love. The girls were dreamily admiring the bride's dress, and planning their own weddings, while both Steven and I felt the temptation to walk over with our three daughters and show them where they might find themselves in the not-too-distant future! How quickly time passes, and what wonderful surprises God brings into our lives.

Day 6: Boise, ID to Everett, WA
This leg of the trip was eagerly anticipated by all. It meant our last day on the road (for a little while, at least) and we were so excited to meet Steven's cousin Tommy and his wife and children. Having both homeschooling and cloth diapering in common, Michelle and I had struck up a friendship through e-mail and our girls couldn't wait to meet Samuel, Andrew, Aliyah, Maxwell, and Quincy and climb around in the fire-truck in the back yard. Steven and Tommy hadn't seen one another since they were children, but they got on like old friends. Steven enjoyed a ride-along in Tommy's police cruiser and they even caught a "bad-guy"! We enjoyed a day at the Seattle Flight Museum (see below for a picture with a lot of Koziols in it!),  and another day of strawberry picking, and comfortable fellowship and play at their home. Though I hesitate to share the story, my pride in my little cousin leaves me no choice but to humble myself and tell you about it. In order to prepare a homemade pizza dinner, we needed some pepperoni and cheese. I offered to go to the store and as it was only about a mile away, and because Kyra needed a nap, popping her in the backpack  for a walk seemed like a good way to help get her off to sleep. Then Michelle had the brilliant idea of having me ride her bicycle (with attached toddler seat) and 7 year old Sam could escort me.  All well and good, except for the fact that I hadn't ridden a bike in YEARS and I have never, EVER parked myself on the razor thin tires of a road bike. This girl likes mountain tires...the fatter and nubbier the better! But I didn't want to miss a moment of chat-time with Michelle, so ride I did. Suffice it to say, Sam probably could have ridden there and back in the time it took me to ride the brakes and wobble my way down to the store, but he stopped at every corner until I caught up, or at least until he knew I could see which direction he was turning! (each time he would say encouraging things like:  "don't fall" and "Are you okay?" and "Whoa,  be careful!")  When I pulled up to the store, I asked the little man if he had been waiting long, and he said with a laugh, "Yeah, you're pretty slow!" I promised I'd do better on the return trip because I had strong legs and I'd keep my balance better if I was pedaling. On the way back I soon forgot about the extra 30 pounds I was toting along and I dropped the bike while waiting to cross the street. Kyra was a bit perturbed to find herself  awake and hanging sideways, her face inches from the sidewalk. Thanks to the outdoor market and busy street, there was not shortage of laughter at my clumsiness! The return trip was otherwise uneventful,  and though I tried desperately and unsuccessfully to match the little guy's pace, I did well...only three houses away when he turned into the driveway. "Muscles"  promptly ran to the back yard and started digging holes...I plopped onto the couch, pleased that the sleeping baby in my arms gave me an excuse to rest (and maybe even disguised how hard I was breathing!)
what do you mean my car seat won't fit in here?!
look out Amelia Earhart!
sweet sisters
a LOT of Koziols!
Day 10: Bellingham, WA to Haines, AK
Throughout the preceding days, we delighted in the slow and steady drop in temperatures. 90's in TX and NM, 80's in SLC, 70's in WA, 60's on the ferry. In a matter of days, our outfits changed from t-shirts and  summer skirts to jeans and fleece jackets! I started to get excited about all the things I could knit, and the fact that we'd be able to wear them more than once or twice a year! 
On the ferry, we had a lovely little cabin with 4 bunks and a sitting room for Kyra's portable crib. As the ride progressed, we gave thanks, and thanks again for this unexpected blessing. When we bought our tickets, the cabins were full and we were put on a wait-list. Families that do not get a cabin may sleep in the lounge (which is used for showing movies all day till 9 pm) or on deck chairs in the solarium. Other families bring tents and use duct tape to fasten them to the deck. Appealing  and adventurous as that may have been, it's certainly not the safest option for an 18 month old who thinks the ocean is a big bathtub. (The backpack saw quite a bit of use during our three day sail!) Twice we saw a pod of whales swimming and spouting beside the boat and only twice did Emma and I suffer a twinge of sea-sickness. We were thrilled to finally set foot on Alaska soil on the morning of Emma's 11th birthday and we enjoyed a comfortable stay at a lovely B&B. 

Maya's bed
Humpty Dumpty anyone?
Emma's bunk

cozy window seat!
at least they don't have to listen to the neighbor's dog barking...

a hazy but beautiful view
Day 14: Haines, AK to Tok, AK
This drive was a dizzying array of mountains, hills, lakes, and valleys. Kyra learned a new word: "bump" and was pleased to have so many opportunities to use it correctly. The Al-Can highway leaves a lot to be desired in some places, but at least there was no chance of taking a wrong turn. We stayed in the sod-roofed Bear Cabins where we petted husky puppies and marveled at the sun, still high in the sky at 10 pm. It was here we discovered some bluebonnets at the playground. We thought they only grew in Texas!

Day 15: Tok, AK to Anchorage, AK
Hurrah! The final stretch! What a blessed relief it was to arrive "home". The late sunset afforded us the opportunity to drive around after dinner to scope out some of the homes on our list. We settled into TLF and rested up for our next adventure to begin the next morning: house hunting!

um, excuse me...
...since when does our baby run...
...and swing?!


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