Monthly Archives: February 2016

Huston Museum of Natural Science

Be warned, there will be way too many pictures in this post… 

Eve loved helping Alfredo play his game, he was very good with the kids.    I had to send a picture of breakfast to my mother to brag about my delicious home cooked meal…maybe that wasn’t very nice of me…..I just noticed our Gizelle photo bomber…ha ha I love it.
 One of Irma and Gizelle’s favorite things to do is go to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  Today they had taken the day off of work and we were blessed to get to join them.  

We checked out the bug/butterfly exhibit first.  

    
 This clock is made for a home owner in the Houston area and is on exhibit at the museum until construction of their house is completed. The bug sings and random intervals.  

    
    
    
    Cockroaches…our friends from Hawaii!
  

   
    
   
    
    
    
   There were pineapples growing in the exhibit.  

 There was an emplyee there who showed us butterflies laying eggs and there was one larvae.  The yellow dots are the eggs.  On the second picture down you can see a cocoon.  

    
    
    
    
   
    
    
     

    
 The first exhibit of the main museum was on alternative energy sources. We got to take a pretend elevator to the bottom of an oil well (that is a very Texas thing to do). 

   
   

    
       There was a large dinousour exhibit that was fun.                             They might be related…

     There was a large crystal and gem collection as well as a shell collection exhibit.          The part of the museum on Texas, it’s native plants and animals as well as the biomes present here. The animals calls were recorded and would go off as you passed them as well as some of them moved.  Eve was not a big fan of that.       We spent so much time on the main floor that we almost had to rush through the second floor and basement and we didn’t make it to the third floor at all.  I don’t regret it though.  It was fun to just take our time especially with the butterflies.             The backpacks above from the gift shop were awesome.  Gizelle picked a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner…the pho was awesome and the Vietnamese coffee is also a do again.  Good pick Gizelle!          After dinner the kids had a movie date in Gizelle’s apartment watching Sleeping Beauty.  They stayed awake through the whole movie and we all rooted Prince Philip on.  I do not remember his sword and shield standing for that of the biblical armor of God.  We said our goodbyes to everyone except Irma as we planned on being up and leaving just before Irma left for work in the morning. 
 

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Shreveport to Huston

This leg of our trip was shorter as we had reserved some time this morning for church.  We have some aquantences who live in Shreveport (they were out of town today) but recommended a church that was only two miles from our hotel.  We thought about walking to church since we were ready way early for the early service and ended up going back to our room for a half hour and I think that I might have even fallen back asleep.  When we arived I was quite glad that we had not.  In our travel clothes we were underdressed as it was, I think I would have felt fairly embarrassed to have walked in too šŸ˜¬.  Everyone was very nice.  The people at the welcome desk directed us to the kids department where they were also very helpful and non judgmental about our being underdressed (all the churches we have attended have been so casual I didn’t even foresee this).  The kids loved their Sundayschool classes.  We enjoyed the service as well, we haven’t been to a Pentecostal survice since Hawaii.  I am pretty solid on the Old Testament since whenever I sit down to read through the bible I generally make it through the Old Testament or at least the first 5 books then peter out.  This time I’m in Mark and so I am close to the sections addressing the Holy Spirit.  I have to be honest, I don’t know what I believe there.  After church the person behind us had noticed that we were new and talked to us for quite a while asking us about our selves and eventually asking if she can be praying for us, to which we agreed.  We gathered our troops, used the bathroom and got on the road.  We were very shortly into west Texas.   

 I know we will get to the dessert portion of Texas as we cross the state later on but the drive from Shreveport to Huston was green, forest and cleared farms.  So beautiful.  We were texting with our friends in Huston and making plans for game food.  Making a quick stop at a grocery store before getting to their house for bacon, jalapeƱos and cream cheese for bacon wrapped jalapeƱos.  We found Irma and Alfedo’s house and they met us at the door.  It had only been two months since I have seen Aunt Irma, but I have not seen Alfredo since I was about two years old and do not remember him.  Fred (Alfredo JR.) was there to welcome us as well we haven’t seen him since Eve was born.  Litteraly, he was visiting my parents when she was born and was over to our house with in a few hours hanging out with us for the next few days.   

 We started working on the pepper poppers and before we knew it Gizelle was back from the store with drinks and we got to love on her as well.  Texas is so far from Oregon, we are greatful for a chance to visit them on their turf this time as we drive across the country. Even better, we have an extra day to spend with them.   As we waited for the game to start the kids put up their hammocks in the front yard and had Gizelle try them out.  

 Then we stacked them two high.  

    
 Once the game started we each picked a color to root for, I think we all knew Denver would win, but really we just wanted a good game.  It seemed like the number of turnovers was crazy high, but the company was good.   

 Fred put in Kung fu Panda for the kids as they go bored of the game in the middle.  Way to go Manning on your 200th career win. 

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Shiloh and Graceland

Leaving Nashville yesterday morning we tuned the I heart radio app to the Grand Ole’ Opry channel as a way of enjoying our location and scenery better.  We hadn’t decided if we were going to visit Shiloh National Battlefield or not since it was an hour out of our way and it was a longer day of driving that we had planned.  When we got to the sign we decided to go ahead and go for it.  It had been recommended by a co-homeschooler who was from Tennessee and we wanted to make at least one stop in Tennessee that would pay tribute to it’s history and uniqueness.  Shiloh is a pretty big park and the GPS instead of taking us to the visitors center directed is to the middle of the park.  Their had been no signs for the visitor’s center so we followed the GPS until we discovered that we were following the driving tour and with no pamphlet of information to explain each station.  We changed the GPS and set it for the visitor’s center to which was at this point six miles away.  Hannah and Eve decided to do the JR ranger program so we spent about an hour helping them complete their workbooks in the museum as then bought patches at the library.   

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   
We had to get going our ETA for our motel for the night was already 9:00pm. The roads from Shiloh to Memphis were scenic and we dipped down south a bit enjoying the northern most part of Mississippi jumping back up to Tennessee at Memphis.  Graceland was only about a mile out of our way.  I had been there before as a highschooler, it seemed a lot different.  Much less green, but I’m sure that is due to it being winter.  The house seemed a lot smaller and further away.  We didn’t go inside the gates we just passed on the road.  We are too young to be huge Elvis fans, but it is still cool to see.  

   The one thing that was the same is the amazing rock wall with probably millions of signatures all over it of fans who had made pilgrimages here and signed the wall. You can’t see that detail in the picture, you can barely see it driving by, you can really see it well if you take a stroll down the sidewalk right in front.  Arkansas was next, the landscape was fairly green and beautiful, Little Rock seemed to go on forever, and we were sad we couldn’t stop at Hot Springs National Park.  Stopping finally at our hotel in Shreveport Luisiana.  I had to look up the population because the amount of lights was pretty impressive.  200,000 people, I don’t expect it to have more than 50,000.  We checked in, found our room and were out, for it had been a long day. 
  

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Charlottesville to Nashville

Work was good Thursday night, I had a quick and beautiful delivery and my second labor was so sweet too.  Everyone was in a good mood and we had a beautiful spread of food for our party.  Everyone has been telling me to stay or comeback, with only planning to go two more assignments then back home I have no response to that.  I wish I could say I will. I have loved working here.  We have loved every place we have been so far.  

At the end of the shift I changed and said goodbye to day shift, got my time card signed and had to turn in my badge (this is the first place that won’t be represented in my little name badge collection oh well I understand it could be a security concern).  I climbed in the car and rolled towards home…over Afton Mt. and past the Shenandoah Valley.   One thing I won’t miss is the truckers.  They all drive nearly 80 mph and like they are driving little sports cars.  They put on their turn signal and start coming over whether there are cars next to them or not.  I have been pushed off the road several times by them and have been so thankful for the wide shoulders.  Although when I am next to one and there is no shoulder or we are on a bridge it stresses me out.  I have never seen such aggressive truck drivers.  I made my road exchanges as is habit and muscle memory by now.  I don’t even think about it and then I am pulling into our apartment complex.  Chad and the kids started carrying their stuff out before I was even out of the car (I was scanning and sending my time card).  I asked if I should just get back in the passenger side or if there was more to get inside.  There was a little more to get so I headed inside and used the restroom.  We didn’t have room for the kids sleepingbags that we have been usuing for bedding (not the backpacking ones) so they and the laundry soap, as well as the broom and dustpan ended up going into the dumpster.  We set them in towards the top in hopes that someone would rescue them because they really weren’t trash at all we just didn’t have time or space to run by goodwill.  The office didn’t open until 10:00am on Fridays so we stuck the keys in an envelope into the payment drop box and headed out of town.  Chad woke me up to take a picture of the welcome to Tennessee sign, but other than that I missed most of the scenery from Charlottesville to Nashville.   

 

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Ultima Dia en Virginia

We had so wanted to go to Mitchie’s Tavern (a historical resaurant connected with Monetchello) for lunch.  But they are only open 11:30-3:00.  After only getting three hours of sleep the day before we decided we just couldn’t swing getting up at 1:00pm and only getting 4 hours of sleep today.  I skipped breakfast this morning, took two melatonin and dove into bed, well the sleepingbag on the ground in our room that is.  I know I’m only mid thirties, but when I have to sleep on the ground I feel my thirty years.  I rolled around a bit trying to get comfortable and slept pretty fitfully for the first three hours or so then finally fell really asleep to get an additional four hours of solid sleep.  Chad woke me up around 4:00pm so I could hop in the shower and we could go out to eat for dinner since everything except our sleeping bags and a change of clothes for the morning was already packed in the car.  The kids had been wanting to take me to Jason’s Deli so that is where we headed.  The pastrami/corned beef sandwich was amazing.  And they had gluten free bread so I wasn’t eating the meat alone.  Caleb and Hannah chose a salad bar and were thoroughly enjoying that, Eve had pizza, and Chad had the salad bar and half a sandwich.  The food was very good.  Chad ran over to Staples next door and picked up some thank you cards for me and I took off to work leaving my crew at the restaurant to walk home (which is just a little more than across the road).  With my heart radio cranked up and a bag of party drinks for this last shift I pray that the night is chill enough that I can enjoy these last few hours at Augusta Healrh with the amazing coworkers I have been blessed with here.  I can feel my savior carrying me along reassuring me that he’s got this.  It’s all in good hands. 

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So Much For Sleeping Today

I can hear Chad and the kids packing up the kitchen and the kid’s clothes, doing last loads of laundry and getting everything that we don’t have to have tomorrow into tubs.  Also I have had several messages throughout the day finishing up the paper work for my California assignment. The kids have come in and out of my room more than usual and I just have a lot on my mind as we end this adventure and get ready to start our next one.  Things that need to get finished before we leave…things that we would like to get done that won’t.  Arrangements for when we get there…

We are excited to visit friends and family on our way back to California that we haven’t seen, some in months and some in years. Here’s to two more shifts and the hope that with melatonin’s help I will get some sleep tomorrow. 

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Are We Going to Visit Someone You know? Do They Have Kids?

I think the kids’ absolute favorite thing to do is visit other kids.  Pretty much every time we get in the car to go somewhere when we have asked the kids to bring extra clothes in their backpacks, in the first mile the kids ask us, “are we going to visit someone you know, and do they have kids?” Often we don’t tell them what the plan is, because it is always subject to change and we don’t want them to get their hopes up and then not be able to follow through.  But anytime we can visit friends with kids they are in heaven.  Yesterday we visited with Katie and Marty who have 6 kids, only three of whom were home for this visit.  They were the perfect ages and the kids all played so well together.  From 6:30 when we arived until bed time at 8:00pm they were playing non stop, and again from as soon as they were up in the morning until the moment the kids climbed on the school bus.   

    
  

 We had not planned on spending the night, but were completely blessed by the opportunity to spend the extra time together. Besides that their kids are such good kids and enjoyable to be around. Thank you Katie and Marty for having us over I hope we get a chance to visit with you in Oregon when you are there.  

Now for the long drive back to Charlottesville so I can be ready for work tonight.

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Outerbanks (OBX)

  The Outerbanks is the place to go for vacation if you live in Virginia or North Carolina it is like the Keys in a way, a line of islands that are just off the coast extending south parallel to the coast.  There are six light houses (I believe) and several national and historical parks.  We felt it an appropriate way to spend our last non work day at this assignment.  We wanted to say goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean before turning back towards the pacific.  We did not set an alarm which would have been a good idea, so we got out of the house kind of late.  The Outerbanks is a 4.5 hour drive from Charlottesville.  It was around 2:00pm before we made it and the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk was our first stop.  

    
    
    

   

    
    
 The monument in the distance.

   
  Above: the hanger, below: the “camp” their temporary housing for when they were in the Outerbanks.  
    Above: the marker where the first airplane took off on flat ground. Below there are four makers beyond the starting point with numbers on them for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th flights.  The 4th attempt with the plane flying 800 ft. 
    
  
   
   The breeze was perfect, and the 74 degree weather felt hot after last weeks blizzard.  We decided it was nicer than most summer days on the Oregon beach and the kids bargained to spend just a little more time taking in the views from the monument that topped a sand dune and had an awesome view in all 360 degrees.  We stayed a little longer then raced down the sand dune getting extra pent up energy out of our little ones.  Hannah turned in her JR Ranger book for a badge and the volunteer gave her a badge for Eve as well even though she did not finish her book.  The volunteer was telling us that she goes around working at national parks and living in her Motorhome all over the US.  She asked the kids what their favorite parks were and Hannah told her that the Grand Canyon was pretty nice, and Hawaii.  She said she had never been to Hawaii so we encouraged her to some day see if she can volunteer at Volcano national park in Hawaii.   After the Wright Brothers National Memorial we headed towards Bodie Island Light house getting distracted about half way by a hammock shop.       And the coolest fire pit ever!!!     
 Only $1300 + 800 shipping and handling…  Chad actually found it on Amazon for $1400 with free shipping but still out of our budget for right now.  

We loved all the cool houses in the Outerbanks, some of them we ginormous!   

     

 Bodie light house could not be any more picturesque.  So amazingly beautiful.  

    
   After the light house we played on the dunes and at the beach for a little while before leaving the Outerbanks.  
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    We saw two Osprey planes on our way to Elizabeth City, and the sun setting was beautiful.
    
 We were able to visit a friend and co-worker from Silverton Hospital in North Carolina named Katie.  It has been a little while since we have worked together and we reminisced about our time at Silverton and the labor and delivery practices we have witnessed since our time there.  I am frequently reminded how fortunate I was to have delivered my kiddos at Silverton.  I would have been a C-section with Caleb, and consequently the rest of my kids if I had delivered in many of the hospitals I have since worked at.  

We enjoyed our evening of visiting with Katie and Marty, Ava, Henry, and Thatcher.  The kids played so well together giving us time to visit and catch up. 

  

  

  

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Last Sunday at Charlottesville First Church of the Nazarene

I was so thankful that we were not out too late Saturday as often is the case when flying internationally.  I have rarely returned from such a trip and not been completely exhausted.  This Sunday would be our last and we did have a few goodbyes to say.  We were sad to discover that our Sunday school teacher was home sick, but we enjoyed Jim’s Sunday school class as they were starting a new study on forgiveness.  You can never spend too much time on forgiveness.  It is one of the hardest things to do and the book from their new study is called “Forgive and Forget” by Lewis B. Smedes. I have a few things in my life that I feel like I have completely forgiven, but for the sake of protecting myself and my children I have not forgotten (although I don’t think about it much unless there will be exposure to this person) I am curious as to what the book will say about forgetting, and what it exactly means by it.   

It seemed more awkward than usual telling people that we were leaving and goodbye because we had not been there for two weeks to give people time to process the fact.  Between visiting Micheal and Kristen, and the snow storm last week with Church being canceled there was just no way to warn people.  Eve’s sundayschool teachers said bye a couple of times to her.  We enjoyed the service on Delighting in Christ.  Emphasizing that our relationship with God must never take the back seat, as I have had several things on my heart lately.  This was a good reminder to let go and let God.  If I keep my focus on him he will work out the details and I won’t miss his direction.  I think we as Christians overthink obedience.  It says over and over again in the Bible that God values obedience more than sacrifice so we stress about missing God’s direction, what is from him and what is not.  Will we miss it, have we already missed it?  We need to just forget about searching out our own way and seek to draw close to him.  He will direct our path.   

   
After church we gathered up our kids and cemented our sushi making dinner plans with Bryan and Jessie, said a few more goodbyes and then headed out to the car. Pastor Bill caught us as we were loading the kids in the car and asked us what day would be good to do lunch this week.  Tuesday was the only day, but then it was suggested that we do Sunday lunch at one of their favorite restaurants called Tip Top specializing in Greek and Italian food.   The parking lot was completely full and there was quite a crowd in the entry way, so we were excited to find out that our wait for a large group was only going to be 10 minutes.  It has been a while since we have had Greek food so we were in heaven, and the company was even better.  I love to have time to talk to other nurses and the pastor’s wife Lori is a pediatric nurse.  Pediatric nurses amaze me as that is one of the few areas I feel the least capable of.  We talked about life, our travels, and NNU (Northwest Nazarene University).  The kids were more antsy than usual and all over the place once they had finished their meal.  Most of the time I am very glad that they are confident and bold in all social situations, but occasionally I wish they were at least slightly reserved and self conscious (well not really), I guess it probably is a patients and respect issue that we need to work on.  We were so thankful for the opportunity to get to know Pastor Bill and Lori better as well as for the delicious lunch.  I keep waiting for the goodbyes to get easier, but we have yet to go to a place that we would not want to go back to if given the chance.  This makes it extra hard when people ask if we will come back, or just forget about our next assignment and stay.  They prayed a blessing for us in our parting that we are most appreciative of.  Thank you for the blessing, and the blessing of being in your congregation I hope that we have also been a blessing to you.  

After lunch we went home and watched a movie that Hannah had purchased this last week.  The prequel and sequel to “The Little Mermaid” and then we rested a short time while the kids played in the snow.  Around 6:00pm we gathered up our sushi supplies and headed to Bryan and Jessie’s house.  They moved here from Hilo so our sushi and musubi night was kind of a tribute to our common adventures.  We found their place easy enough and got the rice going in the rice cooker.  The kids made themselves at home since Bryan and Jessie have a play room even though they do not yet have children.  Jessie let the kids take turns attempting to play her student flute and several other woodwind instruments that she had.  They also liked the pool table and the tubs of beanie babies.   When the rice was finished we took turns making different kinds of sushi rolls and some spam was fried up for musubi.  The kids were extra hyper and excited as they all love sushi and getting to make it themselves was just too exciting.   

    
 Also Jessie made some Boba tea for me that was awesome!!! So delicious!  I took pictures of the ingredients so I can try making it for myself later.  

  

  After our sushi we had mochi for dessert.  We played Banana Grams and Story dice and had a blast. I didn’t get many good photos from the night as we were busy enjoying the company.  It was near 10:00pm and time to go.  We will for sure keep in contact and hopefully our paths will cross again.  On the way home the kids exclaimed how wonderful a day it had been and how thankful they are for this experience to come to the east coast.  It will definately be hard to leave but we remain thankful and humbled by the opportunities we have been given these last few years to meet all kinds of amazing people and be witness to some of the best parts of God’s amazing creation. 

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Aerial Views

From my flights on Saturday.  

Aerial  views of Cuba… 

    
   
The Keys…

 

And the Everglades were so fascinating from the air, I wish the kids could have seen it.  

    
     

 

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