Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last Blog For a While

Well, this will be the last blog for a while. Tomorrow we are going back to the land of no internet, Grandview, WA and then next Monday we're leaving for OKLAHOMA!!! We're so very excited! We'll be traveling the week of Dec. 29th-Jan. 4th so please keep us in your prayers. We will be stopping in Bakersfield, CA to see Caleb's Granny hopefully Tuesday night and spending Wednesday with her. Then Thursday we will start our trek to the homeland. We hope to be there by late Friday/early Saturday depending on how well the traveling goes. But since we'll have the time zones against us (losing an hour every day) we're not sure how that will go. Especially since we'll have to buy food and everything before we get to the place we're staying in Oklahoma. But, we will be in church in Mustang, OK on the 4th, and we can't wait!

Our friends, Ron and Vicki Lehew, who mean a lot to us, have allowed us to use the trailer Ron purchased last year while we're in Oklahoma. It's right next to their current trailer so we'll have neighbors. We're so thankful to the Lord for providing a place of our own to live, we weren't sure where we were going to stay for the 2 weeks we'll be home. But God is always faithful and provides for us. We will be in Oklahoma until the 16th of January when we'll be leaving for New Mexico. We'll be at the Heartland Home Missions Conference, if anyone else will be there! I'm not sure how many of the meetings the kids and I will be able to attend, but I'm sure Caleb will be there for most, if not all, of them. Hope to see you there, maybe!

Thanks for reading and leaving comments. It's humbling to know that people care about what we're doing and how we're doing on the road. We're having fun, but we're ready to be home, even if just for a little bit!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Well, we've been in Washington for three months, and we've finally seen snow! We're in Auburn, WA which is just south of Seattle, and there's a light dusting of real snow here. Not tiny little ice balls, not white ice, but snow! I opened the window in our hotel Sunday morning and showed the kids and they absolutely freaked out! So we got dressed in our warmest church clothes and went to the van to go to church, and they were so excited to touch snow! I felt bad for my poor little Southern kids. Everytime we were outside and they saw snow, they HAD to walk in it and get it all over their feet. I thought about yelling at them to get out because their socks were going to get all wet, they would track snow into the van, etc. but I decided to let them have their fun. We're leaving Washington in 2 weeks (WHOO-HOO!!) and who knows when they'll see snow again! I'll try to take pictures today, if it doesn't melt by the time we go out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Friends and Wii!!

On Thursday, Dec. 4th, we drove to Oak Harbor, WA to spend the weekend with Bo and Kimberly McKenzie. Caleb knew Bo from Heartland and then some preacher's meetings, but I had never met either of them before. We had a great weekend and the best part was, they had a Wii! So we played that almost constantly. It is just fun to meet people and have an instant connection because of the Lord! The more Kimberly and I talked the more we realized we were the same person! So many things in our background and family life are similar, it's scary! We were both raised in Christian homes, our dads were both military, we both married plumbers and now we're both in full-time ministry! Plus we both have a love for shoes that reaches to every womWe also got to see Robin and Micheal Graves, and it was good to see them again. We went to Mrs. Graves' candy shop and got some delicious candy! They make all of their treats in their store and they're very fancy. Check out their website!!

We also had "girl time" on Saturday. I got a pedicure and the girls got their nails painted! They had so much fun.

Right now we're in Everett, Wa staying in a gorgeous Missions Apartment, and it's actually an apartment! We have it all to ourselves and we feel like we're in a castle! We haven't stayed anywhere by ourselves this large in a long time. We're counting down the days until we're back in Oklahoma and we're excited to see our friends and family again! Thanks for all of your prayers.

Lela's Birthday!!

On Monday, December 1st, Lela turned 3!! This was not an exciting bday for her because it means that she isn't 2 1/2 anymore! She loved telling people she was 2 1/2 and she always got a laugh. Telling people you're 3 just isn't as cute, apparently. But she's finally starting to come around and says she's 3 now. Caleb picked up an ice cream cake and made Lela's favorite meal, spaghetti and meatballs, for dinner. We had a good time with Josh and his family, ate lots of food, had good cake, and Lela got what she wanted, two movies! She got Monster, Inc. and 101 Dalmations. They're both now her favorite movies and would watch them constantly, if we let her. I have pictures, but they're on Rochelle's camera so I'll have to wait until I can get them on my camera!


We had a great Thanksgiving! We spent it with our friends, Chris and Tammie House who live in Hillsboro, OR. We were in Baker City, OR that Tuesday and enjoyed a Thanksgiving banquet with Elkhorn Baptist Church and the Looneys there. Then Wednesday we drove to Hillsboro (near Portland) and went to Corridor Baptist Church that night. The church there was very nice and gracious and got us a hotel room for the two nights we would be there! We were overwhelmed by their love, it was so kind of them. Then Thursday we spent the entire day with the Houses. Tammie wouldn't let me do anything, so I got to lay down on the couch all day and relax! The kids all got along and it was just a good day. I'm thankful for friends that will open their homes to us while we don't have a home!


Wow, it's been a long time since I posted! I didn't realize how long until I checked the sight again. I'm worse at this than I am at sending out Thank You cards! And that's bad. So I'll try to do some short updates so it's not so long.

The week of Nov 17th-21st I was incredibly sick! The only things I could keep down were strawberry yogurt and Dr. Pepper! So, Wednesday we drove from Pasco, WA to North Bend, OR and I was so sick and tired that drive (8 hours) that when we got to North Bend, Caleb dropped me off at the ER. They completely misunderstood why I was there and treated me like someone with half a brain who didn't know that you get nauseous when you're pregnant. But I got an anti-nausea pill and a prescription out of the deal, so it wasn't so bad. Plus I got to hear the baby's (yes, just one baby!) heartbeat and I did find out I was dehydrated, just tired. They wouldn't check my iron, which I didn't understand, but since I'm always low when I'm pregnant, I'm pretty sure my iron was terribly low that week! But I've been getting it back up and feel better now.
The next day, since the nausea pill was 24 hours, we drove along the Oregon coast on Hwy 101 and had a great time! We stopped at the Sea Lion Caves and saw some cute sea lions swimming in the ocean. And then we stopped at a beach and even though it was absolutely freezing, we took off our socks and shoes and ran through the waves! It was so fun, and the kids had a blast. We have video of the kids and I in the waves, but I think we're missing a cord and I can't figure out how to upload the video to the computer! But once I figure it out, I will post it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Meeting friends, Preachers Meeting, Election and Seattle

We've had an interesting last couple of weeks! The first Sunday of November we went to Hillsboro, OR (outside of Portland) and I got to meet one of my online friends, Tammie House! We know each other through an online group for IFB Moms but we'd never met in person. It was great to meet her and her family, and it was like we'd always known each other! The church was great and we had a good time. They're looking at building their own building in the future, so they were excited about our ministry and had a lot of questions about it.

After that we drove back along the Columbia River to get to Josh and Rochelle's house. The highway along the river is so beautiful and I love driving that highway. On one side there are huge cliffs and mountains with waterfalls and beautiful vegetation and on the other side is a gorgeous river with boats and barges floating along, and lots of birds to watch. I love imagining the 1800s when the wagon trains went through and had to cross that same river. I think of the game Oregon Trail where you had to float your wagon down the river and find a safe place to "land". Driving through this part of the country it's fun to think about the wagon trains going through and how in the world they made it! Sometimes I don't think us in our minivan with a paved road is going to make it, much less a wagon pulled by oxen. I have developed deep respect for those that braved the land to come out here. That was my deep thought for the month!

One Monday when we got back "home" we found out there was a Fellowship Meeting going on that week on the other side of the mountains so we decided to wash some clothes real fast and pack up, and we left at 5:30 in the morning to make it to the meeting by 9am. We were still late because we hit rain, sleet and snow in the mountain pass, and Caleb didn't have any dress socks or white undershirts even though we both KNOW we packed some so he had to go to the store, but it was a good meeting and Caleb was able to set up some meetings in some empty spots we had. I was just so tired from traveling and being sick that I ended up sleeping the entire afternoon and missed the Ladies Meeting! I was a little upset because the Pastor's wife from Hillsboro was there, and I was looking forward to talking with her more. But I was just so tired! So sleep won out.

While we were there, the Raes let us use the hotel room they were using. I'm not sure if it was their time share or someone else's but we were able to use it and it was so nice! It was in downtown Seattle and they had full concierge service, seperate bedrooms and a huge bathroom! The only downfall was that we were in downtown Seattle on election night! So after Obama accepted the Presidency bid there was honking, screaming, and drum playing until about 3am. At first I didn't know what in the world was going on, but when Caleb got back from the fellowship meeting (Lela and I didn't go at night, Lela was sick) he told me there was practically a riot going on! But we were still able to sleep and it's something exciting we can always tell about!

Wednesday night we were in Gold Bar, WA for their services. Our hotel room was in the only hotel in town, and it just happened to be above a bar! I was so tired that I fell asleep immediately but Caleb said he had a hard time sleeping. It was a good thing we were there on a Wednesday night and not Saturday night! I am so proud of Caleb and his preaching. He's gotten really good at it and he really just wants to say only what the Holy Spirit wants. We've never had a negative reaction to his preaching, and I believe it's because he is so passionate about only saying what is from God, and not him. Even though he only preaches the same two messages (he's working on a third) and I tease him about sleeping during his preaching, I love hearing him preach both messages and I love to feel the reaction from the people in the congregation. Before he preaches Noah and I "bet" about which message he's going to preach and whoever chooses the right one gets the first piece of gum. Noah also sings the song that goes along with our video presentation. I try to keep him quiet, but I do let him sing because at a certain part I like to sing along too! He can sing the entire song, he's pretty good!

Before we went to Gold Bar on Wednesday we decided to walk around downtown Seattle for a little bit. It's a very neat place with lots of culture and things to see. Everyone was wearing Obama shirts because of the election, and everyone was talking about it, but it was still fun. We got to watch them make cheese, and then we ate some cheese that they had made there in the store. We tried some Turkish Delight. I've always wanted to try it since I first read The Chronicles of Narnia and Edmund gets sick after eating it from the White Witch. It was pretty good and not at all what I was expecting! It's more like a gummy candy, I thought it would be a cookie-type candy. We also got to go to the Sound and chase the seagulls and pigeons. We saw the Pike Place venders and got suckered into buying goat cheese. I pretty much know that if Caleb tastes a sample of something, we're going to buy some! We had "truffle sauce". I have no idea what it was but it was way too rich for me, I almost threw up right there in the street. But Kayla loved it; she ate hers, mine, and Lela's! The kids were also excited, they got to ride a bus! We took the bus down to the Market and walked back. We stopped at Old Navy and I found some maternity t-shirts for $2! I was excited. We had a great time and we loved downtown Seattle!!

Caleb's parents are visiting right now and so we went to Fort Simcoe (sp?) today. Half the buildings were burnt down and half of the remaining buildings were replicas and the original buildings were closed for the winter! But it was still fun to walk around. The kids pretended they were in jail and we went into the blockhouses and pretended we were under Indian attack! The kids had fun at least, so that's all that matters!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nice people are still left in the world!

On Monday we were traveling back from Burns, Oregon. We had to go through lots of mountain passes and winding roads, after because I was feeling incredibly nauseous and Kayla threw up (again) after about an hour of driving, Caleb decided that NOBODY was getting anything to eat or drink until we were through the mountains and in Pendleton, Or. It was about a 3 hour drive, and we didn't get there until 1:30. Thankfully, the kids slept for most of it so they didn't complain a lot about being hungry. Because they were so good, we decided to stop at McDonalds because it had a big play place. While Caleb was getting the food I took the kids to the play area, and I started talking to a dad that was watching his little girl play. We talked about kids, and traveling. It turned out that they had driven up from Burns, Oregon the night before! So that was a neat coincidence. He told us about the things they had done, and we talked about our travels. When his wife came back to the play area, he left for a little while and came back with some rocks. He told us they were Obseidon and he explained to the kids about lava, and it cooling quickly and turning to glass. He told us they found a field that had so much Obseidon that it looked like glass all over the field! So he was so kind and gave the kids each their own rock. They're pretty cool rocks, and the kids were so excited. Before they left Caleb gave them a prayer card and he made a joke about his neighbors all trying to convert him! But they were so nice and it was great to be able to talk to random people and have a good conversation. It was so incredibly nice for him to give the kids those rocks!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Big News!

I thought this deserved its own post! I'm pregnant!! I'm probably about a month along, maybe a little more. Which means I'm probably due around June. We're pretty excited and the kids are ecstatic!! Noah wants a boy and the girls want another girl. We're hoping for a boy. Please pray for me though, I am incredibly sick, all the time. Especially in the morning, I can barely get out of bed and I am in a constant state of sickness. I choke down food, but everything makes me sick. I'm pretty good in the afternoons, but I'm sick all day. And plus, I'm always hungry, which isn't helping. I can't get enough food it seems like. I try to drink water and drinks instead, but too much liquid makes me even more sick! So that doesn't always work. Please just pray for me, especially with all the traveling we do. And especially on Sunday mornings. It's really hard to be so sick and yet go to church and meet people, and be polite! I just want to lay down and groan, so it's hard to talk to people and be involved. I appreciate your prayers!!!

So much has happened!

It's been so long since I've blogged, we haven't had internet in forever and when we did, the blogger thing wouldn't let me publish the blog I wrote! So I'm about two weeks behind, I'm so sorry! I'll try my best to catch everyone up but not be monotone and boring.

Last I wrote we were in a scary hotel room in Tonasket, Wa. We had a good service the next morning and some delicious tortellini afterward! I love tortellini and a lady made it for the potluck. I think I ate three plates of it. Yum! That night we were in Oroville, Wa which is about 5 miles from the Canadian border. The Pastor there, Bro. Isenberger, has a house that literally faces the border guard station! It's so funny. We had a really good time there and stayed a few days so Caleb could help out with some things that the Pastor needed to get done. On Tuesday night Bro. Isenberger took Caleb fishing and he caught 3 steel-head trout that were 4-8 lbs each! They were huge. He had a good time and he grilled them up and we ate them at Josh's house, they were really good.

Next, we went to Summerville, Or. It is so beautiful in Eastern Oregon in all those valleys! It's beautiful because you have the classic farm land that I love, farm houses, and barns and then you are surrounded by mountains! It's perfect. We had a great time there with Bro. Umber and his church. His son is a KU fan so it's good to know that people in Oregon can see the light! lol

That Friday (the 17th I believe) we went to an Oregon Trail History Museum. The Pastor let us use his 2007 Saturn Vue to go since the church was paying to have our alignment fixed (Praise the Lord!). When we got there Caleb tried to pull out the key, but it was stuck. He decided to push it back in, and it snapped in half with half the key still in the ignition! You can just imagine what he was thinking! He had to made the dreaded call to the Pastor and thankfully he was understanding and didn't get mad, that we heard anyway! We went ahead into the Museum and really enjoyed it and then we went to the park across the street. Bro. and Mrs. Looney, who Pastor in Baker City, picked us up and took us out to lunch. I was so grateful that they would do that! We're going to be with them in November and it was so sweet of them to feed us. We had a good time, even though the kids were ready for a nap after the long day. The finally got the key out of the ignition and Bro. Umber brought us a new key. We had a good meeting with them and the people were really sweet! They gave us a nice love offering and really treated us well. We stayed with the Smiths who are an older couple, and they have an amazing little stretch of property on the mountainside. They were so good to us and we're grateful to them.

That Sunday we were going to be with the Raes in Pasco, Wa so we drove there on Saturday. We had a mixup trying to find their house, but we finally found it! What amazing and sweet people the Raes are! They certainly love the Lord and we had a wonderful time with them! We stayed until Tuesday morning. We were going to stay all week and Caleb was going to help Bro. Rae build a shed, add onto their kitchen, and finish the garage and make it into a school room, but the county wanted $750 for the permits and it was a two week wait! So it didn't happen that time. I'm sure we'll be going back though, the kids had a great time together and I learned a lot from Shari, she's such a wonderful mother and you can tell from her children that she has a sweet spirit. We had a lovely surprise Sunday morning, we showed up and found out that Andy and Nina Kroll (Krohl? can't remember) are there and working in the church! I haven't seen Nina since Noah was a baby and it was SO good to see them again! We were friends in college and we lost track of each other. It so fun to travel around and find out where people are and what they're doing! It's exciting. We had a great time there. The boys played "Army" the whole time so here is Noah with Jacob and Josiah (Little Joe) getting ready to kill some "bad guys"!

The rest of the week we hung out at Josh and Rochelle's. They were able to get us a little trailer to use so we have "more space" but I'm doubting it gives us more space! lol It's more like a fire waiting to happen with all the stuff crammed in there. It scares me a little. But it is nice to have the privacy.

Today we were with Bro. Gosnell in Burns, Or. We've heard a lot about Burns, mostly people saying "Do you know where that is?! It's in the middle of nowhere!" and "It takes forever to get there!!" Well, everyone was right. On the map it looks like about 4 hours. Our GPS said 6 1/2 but we were doubtful. It ended up being right! It took us just about six hours to get there, a long time! We went through lots and lots of mountain passes, scary curves with no guard rails, and we were on a lot of cliffs that went down miles and miles! I was pretty sick the whole time, and Kayla eventually threw up everywhere! But we made it finally about 7pm Saturday night. We had a good day today. The church is really laid back and it reminded me of our church back home! People responded during the service from the crowd and there was joke telling and laughing. We had fun. The only problem is that everyone is burning their leaves and everything here and the smell of the smoke is making me sick! But I will survive. Sunday night I played the piano, the kids sang, and Caleb sang so that was fun. I love having the oppurtunity to play congregationals again. I really need to practice my offetories, I'm getting sloppy! Maybe we can put a piano in our trailer....? I'll ask Caleb!

Well that's an update for now. On Wednesday we'll be in East Wenatchee, Wa and then Sunday we'll be in Hillsboro, Or, so I'll try to keep you updated when I can, when we get internet! I'll also try to post some pictures. Thanks for reading!!! Love you all.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Yakima Missions Conference

This week was the Home Missions Conference in Yakima, Wa. Pastors from all over Washington State come and give money and help to missionaries and new Pastors. It was amazing to be there and to see people get help and support. We got to see a lot of friends from college, and all of their babies! We're getting so old, and we all have tons of kids! We stayed with the Harrells in their home and they were so nice and generous to us, made us feel right at home. The first night we didn't get out of the service until after 10:30 and I realized that was early! The rest of the week we didn't get out until after 11pm.

They had great programs for the kids. For kids 4-4th grade (Noah and Kayla) they went to a pumpkin patch, corn maze, petting zoo, went on a hayride, and all kids of stuff on Wednesday. Then on Thursday they were to a place called Kids Kastle (I hate changed spelling so it's "cute") which I guess is a huge Burger King play place. Kayla lost her sock in the ball pit, but Praise the Lord the other kids helped her find it! That's all she could tell me about the day. They also would go to a park to play, eat lunch, learn a Bible lesson and do a craft. We didn't get them back until 4pm! We just had Lela for lunch and all afternoon. She definitely loved it, but she missed her brother and sister.

The best part of the week was meeting another NTCP family, the Kroekers. Well, we actually only met Bro. Kroeker and their son, but it was still nice to meet them! We definitely felt a kindred spirit and an instant connection. We've heard about the Kroekers because they're "the other young family" in the group even though Bro. Kroeker is probably 15 years older than Caleb! haha Caleb and Bro. Kroeker were able to present their ministry on Thursday night and they got a good reception, I thought. They did a great job explaining the need for the ministry and how it works. They took up an offering for them and Bro. Brown and Caleb and Bro. Kroeker pass the plates! It was so funny because it's harder to keep your money in your pocket when the person you're giving to is passing the plate!

Well, we had a good week but everyone was so exhausted, especially the kids. Caleb stayed out until 3am every night having "Melowship" with the other men. That's when all the men go to Mel's Diner and eat steak tips and eggs and drink coffee. Yuck! I'm glad I had to take the kids and put them in bed!

We're in Tonasket, Wa right now, staying in a motel. It's definitely the scariest place we've stayed yet, but God will take care of us! The motel is a gas station/laundromat/grocery and motel and I think all the Mexican orchard workers are doing their laundry right next door tonight. Tomorrow night we're going to be in Oroville, Wa which is about5 miles from the Canadian border! The Pastor's backyard is actually IN Canada. He's promised to take Caleb fishing for trout, and he said they get up to 20 lbs up there. Caleb's pretty excited! He loves to fish but never gets to. It's so cold here, even in the middle of the day, but it's beautiful and we're having a good time. Thanks for praying for us!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Getting locked out, rockin' it Hillbilly style, helping move and so much more!!

I think I left off the last post on us being in the Missions Conference in Fircrest, Wa., so I'll start again in Tenino, Wa. The church there (Heritage Baptist Church, Pastor Russ Bowen) let us use their Missions Apartment. It's not quite finished, but it is very nice still. The church was great, they let us stay there for four days, gave us full rein of the church, gave us money to buy food, and even brought us some meals! We were very thankful to be able to stay there and meet the wonderful people.

I did have an experience though, and I've told a few people this. It'll be the short version. Because I had fallen asleep during the movie we watched while we ate dinner, I could not sleep Friday night (Sept. 26th), so I was messing around on the computer. The girls woke up screaming and crying for their blankets and I told them that if they stopped crying, I'd go get their blankets from the van! They finally stopped so I got ready to go down to the van. I thought about waking up Caleb, but decided not to. I thought about taking my cell phone, but decided I wouldn't need it.

When I got to the front door, I stuck a pamphlet in the door like I did last time I went outside, so it wouldn't lock. Well, it decided to lock anyway!! I was stuck outside, at 10pm, in the middle of the woods, in the middle of nowhere. Like a good Kasprick woman, I decided to ignore the problem and keep going about my business (this is what us Kasprick women do best, you know). I got the blankets but when I got back to the door, it was still locked! I went around the church, in the pitch black dark, imagining rapists and serial killers lurking in the dark, and checked all the doors. All locked. I ended up sitting and soemtimes sleeping in the van until 1am! I eventually drove to a gas station praying that someone would have a cell phone (since calling Caleb would be long distance, Oklahoma number) but the man working there not only didn't have a cell phone, but was seriously offended that I would suggest that he might have one! Welcome to Washington. Thankfully when I drove back, Caleb had woken up and decided to find out where I was, so he let me in, I cried and bawled my eyes out, and we went to bed. It was very traumatic and very frightening! It sounds so funny now, but it was scary!!

The rest of the week was uneventful, except for the grocery store lady thinking I was trying to rip off the church and giving us a lecture about stealing and check cashing. Whatever lady!! We drove back to Josh's on Monday, my birthday. I was in a bad mood because I was getting really carsick, the GPS wasn't working right, and my salad that I got from Wendy's was not good. But we made it fine, and we were happy to be back "home" for a while.

Wednesday (Oct.1st) we went to a church in Hillsboro, Wa. and everyone there was really nice! They have a dinner before church every Wednesday and they had some good stuff! I never thought I'd have that good of homemade fried chicken in the NW. The service was, well, something else! That Pastor was from NC and his daughter and son-in-law went to the church also. They had a bass guitar, a synthesizer-type thing (that makes the wha-wha-twang sound), a tambourine, electric guitar and marachas! It was pretty exciting. The kids covered their ears the entire song service and refused to sing, lol! Noah was supposed to say his verses, but wouldn't, so now he has to say them this Sunday or he doesn't get credit for them (1 Cor. 10:1-12). I met a lady, Diana, who lost her husband suddenly last week, and is really struggling. She says she can't sleep at night and is struggling with depression. I can imagine! So please keep her in your prayers.

Right now we're at Rick's house in The Dalles, Or. Rick just accepted the Pastor position at Bethhaven Baptist Church in Midwest City, OK so they're packing and doing repairs. Caleb is tiling the master bathroom, and I'm just trying to do what I can, when I can. I can't do much because it's all sorting and packing, and I don't know what gets kept, packed or thrown out! But I figure I can sweep (lots of wood floors) and clean the kitchen! We're going to be at Rick's current church in the morning and then at Caleb's Uncle James's church tomorrow night, in Tigard, Or.

Next week we're in the Home Missions Conference in Yakima, Wa. It should be exciting, we've heard a lot about it, and we're hoping to get more meetings set up because of it. We're still having a great time, and God's still blessing us!! Thanks for reading again.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Driving Tips From An Experienced Traveler

Well I thought I'd put some driving tips and things we've learned on here, so people can maybe learn something for their next road trip, or at least just catch a glimpse of what ours days are usually like! There are some things we've learned that have really helped pass the time and keep people sane.

1. Less is more!! We've learned that the less toys and things the kids have, the better they'll play. It seems like when they have a lot of stuff they're not satisfied with what they have, so they'll constantly want something else and then get bored because they've "done it all". I don't know why it works this way, but having a small amount of toys really helps.
2. Set aside time. We put our kids' toys and activities into four categories: dolls/transformers; coloring/LeapPad; movie time; quiet and nap time. When we first set out on travels we'd let them do whatever they wanted, and what ended up happening was that they'd get bored of everything in just a few hours. So now we make a schedule and they're not allowed to mix the activities. If it's a school day, Noah does his school first thing and the girls can color or do their LeapPad. Lela usually ends up falling asleep! When Noah is done with school, they can play with their babies/Transformers. By then it's usually lunch time so after lunch it's quiet time/naptime. They don't have to sleep, but they don't get to play or watch a movie. Noah usually reads a book and the girls sleep. After that, if we're still traveling, they can watch a movie. We go in order of who gets to pick the movie and the other kids can't complain about what the movie is!! Lela will without fail pick Dumbo! They also can't play with toys or color or do anything else during movie time. They usually don't want to, but this is so they can enjoy the movie and be quiet! Movie time is a wonderful time for us in the front!

3. Give drinks at a minimum! The kids get a drink of water every hour or so. They're not expending any energy, so I don't know why they'd need it more! And they only get water or lemonade if we stop somewhere for lunch, no soda or tea. If we give the kids their own water to drink, we'd have to stop every hour. If we're about an hour away from our next stop, I'll get a bottle of water out for them to pass around and drink.

4. Keep it neat. We've learned to clean the van whenever we stop for a night. This means we put all the coloring stuff in the right bag, sort out the doll stuff and put it in the right owner's bag, pull things out from under the seat, throw away all trash, and reorganize anything that became askew. This is something I love to do! I hate it when I can't see the van floor. We also vaccum out the van once a week, getting in all the cracks and under carseats. When your van is your home, you have to keep it tidy!

5. Give the kids an out. When the kids get especially tired of being in the car, we just have screaming contests. We'll just all (including Caleb and me) scream and yell our lungs out until we're all laughing. This is a good thing to do when the kids are crabby and crying anyway. Usually if you start, they'll join in and have fun and start laughing. It's even more fun to do it with the windows down!

6. Game Time! Come up with games everyone can play. We play a reverse of I Spy. One of us will say "Find something purple" or "Find a blue truck" and the first person that finds it gets to pick the next object. This is really fun when you're driving off the interstate on country roads, there are more houses and towns.

Well anyway, I hope these tips were interesting to you and not too mundane! Traveling is a lot of fun, and it's a good way to spend quality time as a family!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our trek across the Northern US

On September 15th we started our trek from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Washington State. We had a great time driving across South Dakota, although it seemed like we were never going to get to Rapid City! Our goal was to make it to Rapid City and camp by Mt. Rushmore that night. We saw many strange sights while driving across the prairie. We saw roadblocks that were actually bales of hay, we got a good laugh out of that. There were many strange sculptures on the side of the road, and a lot of motorcyclers! Caleb saw a sign that he thought was really fun, it said "Discount car toes". We were wondering what car toes were, until we realized they meant "tows". It was even more funny when we saw the same sign several times with the same spelling mistake. We made the obligatory stop at Wall Drug and walked around for a while, we even got sodas at the historical soda fountain. We finally made it to Rapid City at about 6 pm mountain time. We were saved by the time change! We were on the road for 9 hours, but we were able to pretend it was only 8 because of the time change. We found a Walmart, got some food, and then set up camp at a KOA camp. The kids had a great time camping and we made smores and had cowboy beans, campfire style!

The next day we went to Mt. Rushmore and we were overwhelmed! I had been there as a kid, but Caleb and the kids have never been there. I forgot how majestic and looming the Mount is. I couldn't stop staring at Washington because he looked so noble and wise up there. Noah has been wanting to see Mt. Rushmore for a long time, and he was overwhelmed, I could tell. He told me later that he didn't know it would be so huge, or that we'd be so close. He also said they looked so real, he thought he saw one of the heads move! Kids are so funny. We had a great time and Kayla even got to see some mountain goats up close and personal.

After Mt. Rushmore we drove through Wyoming and stopped to camp in Billings. We probably could've gone a little further but we didn't want to be stuck with no camping spot, so we stopped there. Montana was just gorgeous and we camped right on the Yellowstone River. It was a lot colder there than in South Dakota, though! We were all shivering in the morning until we got loaded up and in the van. That day we drove through Montana and ended up in St. Maries, Id.

Our plan was to make it to Spokane, but that was just not going to happen! At about 4pm we were still in Montana with little to no money and nowhere to spend the night. Caleb called around to a couple Pastors to try to find a Missions Apartment and finally was able to contact Bro. McCullough who knew of a Pastor in Idaho that NTCP had helped. So Caleb contacted him and he graciously accepted us into his home, and fed us. They lived deep in the Idaho woods and it was a little scary driving there! I'm used to flat roads or maybe even a little hill, but these were winding, curving and hairpin turns! We saw several signs calling for the use of chains, and had several close calls with huge logging trucks coming around the corner of a hill. It was an adventure, let me tell you! But we made it safe and sound and had a wonderful time. I would love to see more of Idaho and explore the beautiful country God made.

That next day we had a short drive to Caleb's brother Josh's house in Grandview, Washington. We made it there in the early afternoon and the kids had a fantastic time getting to know their cousins, Sean and Olivia. We stayed there a couple days and had a good time with Josh, Rochelle and the kids. It was nice to just hang out and not have to be anywhere or do anything!

On Saturday, the 20th, we traveled to Fircrest, Washington which is a suburb of Seattle/Tacoma. We decided not to take the trailer and to just shove our essentials in the van, and I was thankful! We had to drive through the mountains, with high traffic, during a heavy rainfall! Thankfully the kids slept most of the way so Caleb could concentrate on the road. We stopped at an outlet mall and I was FINALLY able to find a new jean skirt! I've been looking for one for several months. And Praise the Lord, it was on sale!! We were late getting to Seattle, so we went straight to the Pastor's house instead of going to the hotel first.

We had such a wonderful and amazing time at Liberty Baptist Church in Fircrest, Wa. The Pastor, Bro. Brock, is a wonderful man who really has a heart for Missions. And the church was overwhelming with their love and support. Sunday night they presented us with gifts and they brought in a huge plastic tub filled to overflowing with stuff, plus gift bags full of stuff for the kids. While we were looking through it all in the hotel we discovered there was a brand new GPS system in the middle of everything. Caleb was so excited! He was jumping up and down. We have been wanting to get one for a long time, but everytime we would get the money, something else would come up that was more important. We wanted to get one before we left, but God never saw fit to bless us with one. Well, the church just HAPPENED to get us the exact GPS that we were wanting, a TomTom. We are so thankful to the Lord and also to Liberty Baptist that followed the Lord's leading in blessing us. We had an amazing week there and a fantastic Missions Conference. I believe that five were saved and almost the entire church surrendered their lives to full-time Missions on the last night. I know with their heart for Missions, they will do great things for God and be rewarded greatly in Heaven for all their work!! They took us to JC Penney and Cabelas and gave us money to spend, we went to Pike Place Fish Market and explored that area, and we also went on a Wilderness Trek where we got to see Bison, Elk, and even Moose up close and personal! It was amazing and wonderful. We had a blast. The Wonsers that were in the Conference with us have two adorable girls, Annabelle and Dixie Mae, and the girls got along great with them. They loved playing "Ring Around The Rosie" and got lots of laughs from people around us!

Right now we're in Tenino, Wa staying in a Missions Apartment here. We will be presenting at the church on Sunday, and they are gracious enough to let us use their apartment for a few days. On Monday we'll be going back to Josh and Rochelle's house and basing out of there. I'll try to update this when I can, whenever we have internet. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thanks for your prayers and support!