Monday, July 16, 2012

Traveling to Georgia

I know this happened over a month ago, but I have become perpetually late at posting things on this blog...who knows if I will ever recover from this move and be current in posting anything.  I'm just patting myself on the back for posting at all.

We spent approximately 40 hours in the car.
Stayed in 4 different hotels and went swimming every night in their pools to get rid of car kinks (it would have been more if we hadn't had family to host us in New Mexico).
Ate entirely too much fast food.
Drove through 10 states.
And almost cried when we finally crossed the state line into Georgia.
I have never been SO happy to be out of the car.

Our children were exceptionally good during all of our traveling.  Brandon's Aunt Sheryl had some great ideas to keep the kids (especially Gavin) occupied during the long drive.  Tape and post-its.  That's it.  Why didn't I ever think of that?!?  They were marvelous.  Draw a picture, tape it to the window, color on a post-it, stick it on the wall, or just play with the tape.  Gavin LOVED it.  So did Jemma and Carter, but they are generally good travelers.  THANK YOU SHERYL!

The kids watched their fair share of movies too.  Jemma is in a trance whenever something is playing and Carter is getting that way too.  It's pretty awesome when we're in the car.
Above:  Jemma in a movie trance and the best shot I could muster of the bridge that crossed the Mississippi River.

The reason we stopped and did so little on our drive.  There was NO WAY we were gonna sight see in 100+ degree weather...especially when there was exessive humidty added into the equation.  (Still adjusting to that...and the large bugs.)

Pretty view from the window.
And, after driving clear across the country, we finally made it to Georgia!!!
The top left picture is Brandon driving by part of Robins AFB where he now works, and the top right picture is our street sign.  :)  We were SO giddy about finally pulling onto the street that our new home was on!

And, there she is!  Woo-hoo!

The kiddos could not WAIT to get out and go inside.
And here is the family eating a HOME COOKED MEAL for the first time it what felt like much longer than 4 days.  "Eating out" in excess is NOT my cup of tea.
We were limited on space in our van, so we sat on the floor for a week while we waited for all our furniture to arrive.  I'd never realized how much I like to sit until there was no where comfortable to sit.  (Note to self for next move...pack camping chairs in the car.)
And finally, here are most of the significant signs we pasted during our journey.  (We missed Oklahoma...and almost missed Alabama.)

Still so glad all of that is behind us!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Oklahoma City National Memorial

On our drive from California to Georgia, we made relatively few exciting stops.  It was just too darn hot to be outside for very long.  We did, however make it a point to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial.  That was an experience I will never forget.
There was far too much to photograph, and too much to relay verbally, so I will just hit a few of the significants.
Across the street from the actual place of the bombing was this statue of the Savior facing away from the memorial.  This depiction of our Redeemer in sorrow really struck me. 
Next to it was the plaque pictured below.  In case you can't read it, it said the following:
And Jesus Wept
John 11
On April 19, 1995 at 9:02 a.m., a bomb exploded just a few hundred feet east of here.  In that instant and the ensuing calamity, 168 people were known to be killed.  Devastation covered this area.  The parish house which stood on this corner was demolished and Saint Joseph Old Cathedral was severely damaged.
In the Sacred Scriptures, Jesus is seen as weeping over Jerusalem, soon to be destroyed.  He wept for those whose lives would be lost.  In the shortest verse of the Bible, Jesus weeps over the death of His friend Lazarus.  Here we depict that same Jesus weeping and turning away from the bombing destruction.  He stands facing the niches in our granite wall that represent each of the victims of the bombing.
Yes, the watchful eye of God is always on His People.  The compassion of Christ is always waiting for His people.  These were His people who died in the bombing but now can live in Him Who said: "I am the Resurrection.  I am the Life.  Whoever believes in Me, even if he die, will live forever."  We believe in Jesus and trust that His merciful love has brought our brothers and sisters, victims of the tragedy, to life everlasting.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.

This tragic event occurred when I was only 12 years old, so my memory of the details were minimal.  I did not recall, for instance, that there was a daycare facility within the Murray Building and that none of those innocent babies survived.  There was a picture inside the memorial of a Firefighter carrying a severely injured little girl...I couldn't bring myself to photograph it, but it became very real to me, the horror of that mornings' events, when I thought of losing one of my children.  They also had a room that held a picture of each victim in a glass case with some of their personal belongings...pacifiers, stuffed animals, small shoes, to name just a few, were among those of the children's things.  Each of those individuals became REAL to me in those moments of seeing their faces and physical possessions they treasured during mortality. 

Most of the areas I photographed had a plaque with an explanation.  I have included pictures of those plaques...they do a better job of explaining than I ever could. 

  Near the tiles that were displayed, there large chalkboard slabs on the ground for children to draw or leave notes on.  Carter drew his version of the state of Oklahoma and Gavin likewise left his sentiments.  :)

The Alfred P. Murrah Building.
There were two things that I left the memorial feeling that day; first, a deep sorrow for the violence that seems to be ever-resilient in our world and the lives that are destroyed because of it, but second and more importantly, an abiding hope for a better future and gratitude to those who refuse to be silenced, stopped, or permanently discouraged when darkness attempts to prevail.  There will always be light above the ashes, if we will but look up. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

4th of July Festivites 2012

On our trek out east, we stopped and stayed 3 nights in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Two of my darling sisters, Sharee and Julianne live there with their wonderful families and another sister, Emma flew down from Idaho to spend a few days, so it was one rockin' party!  We timed our visit just right so we could be with family on the 4th of July and it was one of the funnest Fourths I've had a in long time.  (Possibly because it's been so long since we spent that holiday with family.)
It was a party from start to finish.  The boys (Brandon, Eric and Arthur) started out the day by running a 5k while the girls ate a delicious breakfast casserol with fresh fruit and juice.  (That is a much better start in my opinion.)  We then headed off to join in the neighborhood bike/wagon/scooter parade.  My kids were so darn excited about this.  We've watched a lot of parades on the 4th, but this was the first time our kids were in one.

Left:  Carter rockin' Daphne's scooter.  Right:  Dallin, Hayden and Daphne on their bikes. 

Left:  Sydney is Sharee and Arthur's youngest and I just adore her curles.  I have to resist playing with her hair everytime I'm near her!
Right:  Poor Jemma fell on the way to the parade and skinned up her knees pretty good, but Sharee had a friend who lived close by, so they bandaged her up and ran most of the parade route to catch up.  Thanks again Sharee for taking care of her!
Left to right; Emma, Jewel, me and Sharee

The parade ended at a park where the real festivities ensued.  Above, the whole clan.  :)
Left to right (back row): Carter. Sharee, Arthur, me, Brandon, Jemma, Daphne, Dallin, Emma, Jewel and Eric.
Left to right (front row):  Gain, Lily (turned around in the wagon), Sydney, Hayden, Sean, and Caleb.

Jemma with cousins Dallin and Daphne.
They had a massive ice chest chuck ful with popsicles and ice cream sandwiches.  Every time I turned around, my kids had a new one in their mouth.
There were all kinds of contests, of which one was a watermelon eating contest.  None of my children wanted to participate, but Dallin and Daphne had a go and did pretty darn well!

The Anderson clan enjoying popsicles and ice cream sandwiches.  :)

They also had three leged races and gunny-sack races.  Jemma, despite her injured legs, wanted to participate.  She raced with this cute little toe head...I can't remember his name - I did ask after they finished...and they finished somewhere in the middle.  :)

Brandon and Eric teamed up and took 1st.  Crazy boys busted their leg band after they crossed the finish line...if you look at the center photo above, you can clearly see why.  ;)

 I'm am generally not the out-going type...I don't like to be in the spot light.  However, Sharee and Emma encouraged me and Jewel to participate in the three legged race (in which we didn't do so bad)...and I even participated in the gunny sack which I did HORRIBLY!  It was embarrassing really.  I think I came in 3rd to last place.  And you know, it probably wouldn't have been that bad, except my sister Sharee is a pro in the gunny sack.  I swear she practices with pillow cases cuz she won 1st by a WIDE margine.  Ok, so she doesn't practice.  She is just super talented.
 Here we are at the start...and there are no pics of us in between together, cuz both Sharee and Emma left me in the dust.  I was just glad I didn't fall.
 Emma, Sharee (with her major award) and me after the race.

 Random picture of Emma on Dallin's bike...or maybe it's Sean's, or even Daphne's...anyway, she rocks.

Later that evening, we had an awesomely delicious bbq at the Gariety's (I think that may have been after naps...which were heavenly) and then Arthur treated us to a firework show in the front yard.  It was superb.

A little sparkler fun.  I. Love. Sparklers.  Brings back GREAT memories.  :)

 Most of the clan watching the show.  All the nieces and nephews wanted to sit with Aunt Emma.  She is pretty darn awesome!  And, I love that Lily looks like she's praying in this picture.  Too cute.

Left:  Arthur, prepping for the action.  Right:  one of the entertaining fireworks.  (He set off A LOT...and there were some big ones.)
Hayden and Carter.
 Brandon and Gavin.

In addition to a fabulous 4th of July, Brandon and Arthur went golfing on the 5th while all the sisters got pedicures, went out to lunch and shopped for a "project" (which I still need to finish...have any of you ladies completed yours???).  The kids played their hearts out, ate a ton of popsicles, and had a down right too-fun time.  (Carter keeps asking when Hayden and Sean are coming to see us cuz he misses them so much.)  We ate amazing food (I still need to get your Orange Chicken recipe, Jewel), celebrated Lily's birthday, complete with a pinyata, and had a glow-stick dance party our last night there.  It. Was. Awesome.
We had so much stinkin' fun with those guys in Albuquerque.  I really wished that had been our final destination and had to give myself a serious pep talk when it came time to leave.
Thanks again you guys for all the fun!  We love you to pieces!!!