Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 9 & 10

We arrived in League City late Tuesday night to the arms and bright eyes of my Mother-in-law's sister and her husband, the colonel.  That's the official connection but the real connection is true-blue family and a love and devotion to us that will send us out the door today wanting to bring 'em home to California. 

Cousins and their grown children have hurried home from their jobs each evening and the 3 of us have been trying to be ever so charming so that they might just decide to pack up and follow us home.  We have shared great food and such fun conversation.  We heard some Roger & Betty stories, visited the park and the Space Center and were reminded of the joy of a stolen cookie in the middle of the night.

Seaborough Lane has some territorial issues we learned last night.  The Deeds might have been crawling on the floor right along with the herd of Dachsunds, when he got a little reminder that he is not actually a dog.  The morning has brought a near complete recovery of the reminder and a good story to take back to California.

League City...thank you for everything.  We could move here, no doubt, with the feeling of home that we experienced over these 2 1/2 days.  Let us return the favor as soon as you are able, we'd love to have you, all at once would be a dream!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Road Trip Day 7 & 8

Shawnee Oklahoma…Can I just say that nothing you read on the blog about this part of our trip can come close to describing all that has taken place in 2 ½ days.  We ate and walked and watched movies… there were a few wrestling matches, some shopping and cooking and a field of dreams for one little man.  A little bit of girl talk, a bit of mother-son time, some sibling laughs, some dreaming and planning, not quite enough hugging, but that just leaves us anxious for this couple of college kids to return home in a few weeks. 

We leave today after a few errands and a quick lunch and head out to Keller Texas.  We’ll stop there to see one more cousin and her amazing and big family in their new house.  Then on to Houston to see the Taylors, we think of them as "Plum" good relatives.  Micah has talked about seeing cowboys on horses, complete with holsters for their guns since before we left on the trip.  I realized yesterday that his expectations will be pretty high when we hit the state line, so I have tried to warn him by telling him that cowboys drive trucks now except when they are on their ranches, so we might not see any horse riding-gun slinging men in boots tomorrow…”that’s just terrible” was his response.  I just love him!  If I could wrestle me up some rodeo men to hang around the neighborhood while we’re visiting, I think I’d sell my left hand…I need my right one to hold on to his as we drive off into the sunset tomorrow, leaving my own boy behind here in Oklahoma. 

Get ready Texas…there’s a curly headed cowpoke and his mama and DD about to see Texas!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 5 & 6

Humboldt Iowa…We spent the day meeting more Nelsons and Johnsons and visiting different places that I remembered from my last visit in 1983…(way too long ago).  We went to the cemetery where my dad is buried and I surprised my own self by getting emotional.  I don’t know why it hit me that way.  It’s been almost 40 years and I know its only his body buried there, but just seeing and tracing his name on the headstone made  me wonder again, “what if?” We left there and went to see some property that my cousin had purchased to build a new home on.  It will be so nice for them, plenty of trees and lots of space…no fences between houses allowing neighbors to be neighborly.  One cousin, Susie and her family lived in Humboldt until 2 weeks before we arrived, when all 14 of them moved to Texas.  But, we got to see the house and hear the stories of where their home schooling was done and the music was rehearsed and many cars have been worked on.  A home rich in memories, tell-tale charts still on the wall detailing meals etc…  My cousin Rick and his wife Connie share our empty nest woes, but recently purchased a house and had it MOVED to the property where my grandparents farmed and raised their boys.  “How on earth do you move a house across town?”  “On a truck”…well ok then.  I have seen modular homes moved in sections, but a regular ol’ house?  Micah loved the daughter’s racecar in the garage and thought it was pretty cool that the house had theme rooms.  Aunt Bev stole Micah’s heart and devotion with an extra special piece of apple pie with plenty of vanilla ice cream.  She stocked us up on GORP for the road and we had a great dinner with the whole gang followed by a trip to the park to see the train Uncle Howard built.  Chambry, Chase and Micah could have stayed and played all night, but we ended the evening with sparklers at the park and said goodbye to Steve.  Saturday, we left the hotel and spent a little more time at Uncle Howards before heading out on the 10 hour drive to Oklahoma.  Humboldt represents the only place I know where my Dad is somebody.  Somebody with a history, with a childhood, with people that really knew him and remember him as a person, not just a position in a family.  God knows what he is doing and he always has.  I do wonder how life would have been different had he lived a long life, but I do not doubt that God can bring beauty from ashes and replace mourning with gladness, Isaiah 61:1-4  It is His way.  I love what He has brought to my life and for the family in Iowa who honor my dad. 

We arrived in Shawnee Ok about 2am and Dot scooped a sleeping Deeds up from his carseat without a peep…until he say Uncle Ryan when he opened the door.  Remember when our babies stretched their arms out to be picked up or handed over to someone else?  That was the Deeds…without a word, just a sleepy smile, he stretched from Dot’s arms to Uncle Ryan and melted against him.  I don’t know who looked more content…Uncle Ryan or the Deeds…or me, but the middle of the night has never felt so good.

Quote of the day –running into the restaurant… ”I can’t wait to order what they have!”

Sunday morning came early for Dot and me…the deeds woke up pretty early and his mom pulled a trick out of her bag by sending him into Uncle Ryan’s room to negotiate a breakfast date at the donut shop.  Sarah came over and we headed to Ok City to the fireman’s museum…advertised as open on Sunday, but alas, not this Sunday. Thankfully the zoo was right next door and we saw all the best the zoo had to offer including an ape that found Micah so intriguing, he nodded to him, then sauntered over to be nose to nose with him at the window of the exhibit!  Micah thought it was probably that the ape thought he was also an Ape…  ”since he didn’t have his shirt on”.  We had a great day, got some laundry done and are settling in for a movie tonight. 

Quote of the day “Mom, when I grow up will I grow hair all over my face?”  answer “Yes”… “ok then I’m going to shave in the afternoon and the nighttime cause I don’t think I want to grow that.”

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Road Trip Day 3 & 4

We left Rawlins Wyoming about 10:30 Wednesday morning and headed to Cheyenne about 2 hours away Can I just say that if you are Terry Bison Ranch and you spend some time and money creating a great website full of intrigue and adventure...please be prepared to deliver on your tease.  We arrived to...well no one.  The alpaca's, horses and ponies were accessible, so we parked and walked the cat walk overhead and then took an apple from the car and fed the ponies small bites on small gloved hands, stretched out flat preserving fingers.  Of course, the Deeds insisted on wearing his cowboy hat and I thought a car and three Californians might have raised some interest and a greeting or at least a scolding for feeding their animals, but no one...was around.  There was country music playing from speakers around the different buildings...but without any humans in sight, the thought crossed my mind that we could have just walked in on some major crime scene and the barn might contain more than some tack and baby kittens...perhaps I watch too much CSI.  We seized the opportunity for some good photo ops and finally found the guy that gives the train rides who was more than nice, but seemed a little tired from the three rides he had given earlier that morning.  After the animals, we were anxious to visit and fish from the stocked pond, except that I guess we were supposed to bring our own poles and string and whatever else fisher guys use.  I told them how far we had traveled hoping they would find a loaner in the back somewhere...but alas my charm and sympathy seeking techniques failed miserably.  Dot and I were sorely disappointed...the Deeds seemed just as happy to stand in a mud puddle and pretend to fish with a stick.  My lingers. 

Fireworks are legal in Wyoming and I am hoping Nebraska and Iowa because we stopped to purchase some sparklers to light up a parking lot in the next few days.  Memories...we're making a few.

Dot looked up a great Rodeo Museum and we stopped there for an hour or so and the sweetest grandma in Wyoming sold us tickets and made me want to bring her home with us.  Frontier Days...not this week, but worth planning a trip around in the years to come. 

Then we hit the road and headed for Lincoln Nebraska...7 hours in the car and we were pushing the limit on exhaustion.  Nothing though that can't be cured by an awesome hotel room and a good night's sleep won't cure.  The Deeds celebrates each time we get to go to the breakfast where "you can get whatever you want and you don't have to pay."  That way we can save our money, he tells us, which I believe illustrates he knows our LOVE LANGUAGE.    A morning swim, showers and we were off to the Lincoln Children's Museum...just google "Heaven on Earth for Kids"  it was awesome!  Anyone of the play areas would have entertained our early childhood traveler for hours...he was like a ping pong ball with so many options.  If I won the lottery, I would build one at great.

We hit the place next door for our first restaurant meal and had the best macaroni and cheese since ever to ever. Amen.  Then hit the road cause we thought we had about 2 1/2 hours or driving to Humboldt Iowa.  Except that it was really 4 hours+ but worth every last minute.  This is the place my dad was born and raised and his family is wonderful.  Makes me so wish we had stayed more connected with them after the death of my father and so glad we still have now.  So genuine, kind, unpretentious and loving and a sense of humor that feels familiar.    I am looking forward to a tour of the town tomorrow.  Perhaps I am trying to recreate days long gone and the history of my Dad, but there is a little feeling of home in my heart tonight. 

Until next time..

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Road Trip Day 1 & 2

I woke up early this morning in our hotel room, dark from the black out drapes, (if I were going to have an would be with black out drapes...they complete me:)  I think it was a headache that woke me up and after making a hot pack (hot towel in a plastic bag from subway, genius!) I climbed back into bed and laid away thinking and pouring out my heart to God, thanking him for our family.  I'm sure it has more to do with the fact that they are ours and no one elses, so I have a front row seat to their dreams, hopes, laughter and see first hand how they live out their priorities with such conviction.  Today I was especially focused on the courage they display.  The character stuff, that is was gets me, what tenders me towards them and makes me so grateful.
Each one in their own way, and on their own path have and continue to face challenges that require an extra measure of fortitude, and they keep walking.  Sometimes the call is to make the right decision and sometimes, to make their decisions right.  It isn't unlike what their parents have also experienced and the grandparents before that...its just different to watch it in your children, and its hard in the dark and the quiet, not to soak a pillow with early morning tears of gratitude and love.

2011 will be marked as a year of great adventure and new things, and the grace and manna God has stored up to serve us each day is more than sufficient!

This road trip adventure began with a marathon of driving and we tried to figure it out last night, but I was way too tired to calculate the number of hours we had driven in the last 24 or ratio of sleep to awake considering time zones and trip odometers and gas stops.... this would I think require something above Mr. Rigsby's Algebra 2 class in 1978!  I do know we recorded 1000 miles and 4 states, 2 sandwiches, 2 salads, way too much coffee and gas prices ranging from $4.99 a gallon to $3.67.  We played the guess who game, the matching eye spy game of sorts, watch Franklin videos, heard hours of legos going on in the back seat, road an Alpine roller coaster...twice and opened a couple of items from the prize box as the eye spy points accumulated.  A 4 year old is good for me.  Who else, but a grandchild could make be go from Jacuzzi to pool at 8 oclock at night, performing a dive move from the 70's? 

Today we are headed to Cheyenne.  Can I just say God and I had a moment yesterday driving through Wyoming...I'm not sure what he was intending for this flat, brown state, uninhabited for miles and miles... no animals, no homes, no plants really...except perhaps he wanted to keep some land for himself, as though he is perhaps some sort of "green" wanting to preserve some creation from the development of an industrial people.  Mission accomplished, Lord, what you claim for yourself is yours to admire, though I have to say it reminds me of the Israelites desert and makes me want to stay on course, lest I be sent to Wyoming for 40 years to wander!

We woke to a car covered with about 2-3 inches of snow, the roads look clear, but we are hoping the Ranch in Cheyenne full of the promise of animals, a train and a pond stocked with fishing success, is open and waiting to greet us.

Until next time...