In my favorite poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay, he reminds us that like the seasons of nature, life is one season melting into another, and quickly fading away. This is my attempt to document each season in my life and my family.

The Freedom Tour – Days 2 & 3

Filed under: Freedom Tour,Road Trips,Trips — Rachel at 10:23 pm on Sunday, May 22, 2011

Days two and three of The Freedom Tour may not make for very exciting blogging, but I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

I’ve been at Amy’s house for two days, and I’ve done a whole lot of nothing. Really. I’m trying to think of what we’ve done so that I can dutifully report, but I’m drawing a big blank. I know that we’ve ate at least three times a day, I read most of “The Bell Jar” since I got here and finished it today, and we’ve listened to a lot of music. We watched a little tv, and did some laundry. The kids have played outside, rode bicycles around the neighborhood, and spent way too much time playing “Rise of Nations” on the computer. Abby Jo has watched about a hundred episodes of “Dora the Explorer”. Earlier today, she said, “Hola, Mamie!” to Amy. So, maybe by tomorrow she’ll be bilingual.

Since we’ve not done anything worth blogging about, I don’t have any pictures, either. Except for this one:

We are leaving in the morning for Springfield, Missouri. We were going to take a different route through Memphis and Little Rock (leaving from TN instead of KY), but the flooding they were having made us decide to go the same route as last year. After crazy tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri today, though, we altered our route again to avoid the devastation by going slightly south of Joplin. (Our prayers are with all of the people of Joplin.)

The Freedom Tour – Road Trip 2011

Filed under: Road Trips — Rachel at 10:40 pm on Friday, May 20, 2011

And so it begins…

My first endeavor as a newly graduated free woman is to travel half way across the country in a van with six children ten and under and my best friend, Amy Jo. Just like last year (you may remember me blogging about mentioning the Insanity Tour of 2010), we are traveling to Dumas, Texas to visit Amy’s family. I’d say I’m tagging along, but I think I’ll be doing most of the driving. I’m slowly but surely weaseling my way into Amy’s family. What? They need a fourth sister. Besides, her Mama loves me. She told me so.

Anyway, today was my first leg of the journey. The kids and I traveled from our house to Amy’s house in Fort Knox, KY. It wasn’t really anything exciting, but I have the following picture to commemorate it.

Me and my dimple, squinting into the sun at the TN/KY border.

You now have two options. You can either pretend that this is a fabulous picture in which I look really great and my hair and makeup are actually done, OR you can think, “Wow. You know what? Rachel really deserves a vacation!”

Nothing very interesting happened on the first leg of the trip. I did run over a snake, though. I gunned the gas so that I would be sure to hit it, and I may or may not have muttered, “Under my heel, you slimy devil!” while I did it.

Elijah got carsick, but he didn’t throw up. For that, I was very grateful. We stopped in Tompkinsville at a McDonalds for a bathroom break and four Happy Meals. While we waited, an old guy asked me if the kids were all mine. Used to this question, I just smiled and said, “Yes, sir!” He grinned and winked and said, “You’ve been busy!” It’s always nice to have old guys give your sex life a nod. It makes me feel accomplished and noticed.

I rolled into Fort Knox at about seven in the evening, and I’m looking forward to a couple days rest before heading to Texas. My body is unwilling to drive long distances at this point in time. After days of ripping up floors, painting ceilings and walls, and being on my feet all day…not to mention one of my feet being nail-pierced…I just want to relax. (For those of you who don’t know, we are remodeling our living room and kitchen right now.) So, for now, we’re chillin’ in the blue grass, and we’re planning on leaving here in a couple of days. We will drive to Springfield, Missouri, spend the night there, and then travel on to Texas the next day.

With that, Day 1 of The Freedom Tour is in the books. Goodnight and God bless!

Some Photos

Filed under: Chris,Me,Photos,Trips — Rachel at 6:49 am on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

To view my Facebook album of photos from my Spring Break, click the photo below.

To view my Facebook album of photos from mine and Chris’ trip to San Diego, click the photo below.

Family Hiking Trip

Filed under: Abby Jo,Activities,Chris,Elijah,Family,Field Trips,Kids,Kyra,Owen,Photos,Trips — Rachel at 11:11 pm on Thursday, June 10, 2010

A few weeks ago, we took a family trip to Frozen Head State Park. Chris, the kids, Toby (the dog) and I hiked up to two different waterfalls. It was a lot of fun, and great family bonding.

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Kyra played the role of photographer at the beginning of our hike, and she took this photo of the rest of us.

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Abby Jo enjoyed herself.

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I climbed on top of the first waterfall we came to.

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We know we are totally awesome on top of the falls.

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Abby eats a rock.

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Me and my progeny under the second waterfall, Emory Gap Falls.

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(Please to notice how that when I take the picture, the waterfall is actually included.)

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It was a beautiful day with beautiful scenery.

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I couldn’t help but be amazed at God’s wonderful creation.

Chris’ CHBOLC Graduation

Filed under: Abby Jo,Army,Chris,Elijah,Family,Friends,General,Kids,Kyra,Owen,Photos,School,Trips,Videos — Rachel at 11:58 pm on Tuesday, September 8, 2009

August 28, 2009 was a big day for Chris. He graduated from Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course, which finished up his chaplain training, at the Chaplain School at Fort Jackson, SC. The kids and I were so proud of him. Here are some photos and videos from our day. (I was having trouble with my camera, and I didn’t get videos of the last two platoons, including Chris’, singing their division songs, nor a photo of Chris walking across the stage.)

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Christopher before the ceremony.

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This is me with Mrs. Diann Hart, a chaplain’s wife that I got to know a little bit during my time at the Spouses’ Seminar. She, along with her two daughters, babysat all four of our children during the banquet.

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This is me with Mrs. Teresa Boone, the wife of the Commandant. I enjoyed getting to know her at the seminar.

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The whole family.

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This is us with Chris’ mom, Velvet.

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Me and Christopher

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Daddy and his boys.

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Daddy and his girls.

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Daddy and all of his young’uns.

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I love you, Christopher, and I’m very proud of you. I’m so glad you’re home!

Visiting Daddy

Filed under: Abby Jo,Activities,Army,Chris,Elijah,Family,Kids,Kyra,Owen,Photos,Trips — Rachel at 11:24 pm on Sunday, August 9, 2009

Since Chris has been gone to Fort Jackson since early July, the kids and I made the trip to South Carolina to see him this weekend. The drive wasn’t too bad. The kids were mostly good, and Abby never really cried…only fussed till her big sister put her paci in. I was making good time until Elijah needed an unplanned bathroom stop, and then all the kids had to go. Then, not longer after that stop, Kyra said, “Owen has something yucky on his shirt and pants.” I turned to look, and saw that Owen had thrown up on himself. I was on the phone with Chris at the time, and said, “Great! Owen threw up.” When he heard me say this, Owen immediately started crying. It was quite a ways to the next exit, and Owen fell asleep while I was driving. This prompted a phone discussion with Amy on whether or not it made me a bad mom if I kept on driving while Owen was covered in puke, since he went to sleep and it didn’t smell that bad. I drove a while, but then I started smelling it so I stopped and cleaned him up. (This retelling reminded me that his pukey clothes are still in the van tied up in a little, scented, blue, plastic bag. I think I’ll be tossing that!)

Besides that and a homicidal truck driver who tried to run me off the road, it was an uneventful trip. We made it to Fort Jackson, and got to see Daddy. He was out in the parking lot of the hotel waiting on us. The kids were ecstatic to see him, and I think he felt the same about seeing us. We really miss him when he’s not home!

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We went to Outback right away, and then came back to the hotel. Chris had to stay up late working on homework for CHBOLC. He didn’t get in bed till after midnight, and then had to get up at four for PT.

On Friday, we hung around the hotel until he got off, and then went to Applebees and to Walmart to buy swim stuff for the kids since I didn’t bring theirs. Chris went to sleep pretty early since he only got four hours sleep. On Saturday, we went to the zoo here in Columbia which was pretty fun. I’ll have to add pictures of that later, since they’re all on Chris’ computer. We ate at Maurice’s BBQ, which was kind of interesting but good, and then came back to the hotel. Chris took the three big kids swimming, and Abby Jo and I took a long nap. That was about it for Saturday. Today, we went to IHOP for breakfast, and then went to the Sesquintennial State Park and then to see G-Force at the movies. After the movie, we went to Rita’s Frozen Custard, and enjoyed some Italian ices and frozen custard. It was absolutely delicious! Today is the only day I took photos on my iPhone, so I can add the pics from today. Enjoy!

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Waiting for IHOP is not much fun…but worth it!

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This is at the park, where it was crazy hot…like around 98, I think. This isn’t the best photo, but I added it because I love Abby Jo’s expression. She looks like, “You call this fun?!?”

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Elijah at the park.

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Hot, little Abby Jo after having her diaper changed on a picnic table. She was still smiling, even though she was sooo over the whole thing.

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Kyra sitting pretty in the shade.

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Chris at the park, with Elijah in the background.

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At Rita’s, they promised me happiness. I love the sign in the upper right that tells you where to order happiness. They came through. We were happy!

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Kyra got some sort of strawberry flavor of Italian ice.

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Owen and I had passion fruit.

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After everyone ate their individual treats, Daddy went and ordered us all a large chocolate vanilla twist custard to share. We were very excited!

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Ready? Set? Go!!!


I’m a stay at home mom….

Filed under: Family,Friends,Loss,Photos,School,Trips — Rachel at 4:40 pm on Saturday, December 13, 2008

who stays at home!!! Ahh…the freedom!

I seriously couldn’t be much more content with how things are going to be for a while. I finished my semester. I got A’s in both my classes. Yes, that means that I got an A in the Statistics course that has kept me half insane all semester. 🙂 I have 12 classes completed towards my Associate of Science degree (plus the two developmental algebra classes I had to take when I first started), and a 3.75 GPA. So, I’m halfway finished with my A.S. I think that’s a pretty good stopping place for now. I’ll take a nice long break to have my little girl and get things established with Elijah’s kindergarten, and then, hopefully, I will return to my education refreshed from a year or so off. For now, I’m quite content with where things stand. The way I see it, this is not a race. I have four babies to take care of and be with and enjoy, and I’m not worried about how long it takes me to finish school. I want to do what I can when I can while they’re growing up, and maybe I’ll be finished with school when they’re starting to leave home. That’s really the goal.

As much as I enjoy school, I’ve had a lot on my plate recently, and have really looked forward to a break. As soon as I finished up my semester, Chris kept the kids and let me go visit Amy for a few days. It was so good to get a break from absolutely everything, and, as always, so good to be with my best friend.

I really needed to have some time away. Monday was my due date for the baby I lost. It was kind of a hard day for me, and it helped to be with Amy on that day. She knows what it’s like, because she’s been there. That seems really important in these kinds of things. Knowing someone understands what you’re going through helps.

My sweet friend bought me these flowers. She was so kind to me on such a sad day.

I got home from Springfield late Thursday, refreshed and excited to be a true stay at home mom for a while. I have big plans for getting things done around the house and preparing for Abigail’s arrival. It’s going to be good.

Seven Years and Still Going Strong

Filed under: Chris,Family,Me,Photos,Trips — Rachel at 5:57 pm on Friday, February 22, 2008

During the dry up on my blog here (I’m sure you noticed the lack of posting, right?), Chris and I had an anniversary. Number seven. I can’t believe how fast it’s went by. To celebrate, we went to a cabin in Pigeon Forge for a couple of days. My mom watched the kids for us. It was the first time since our first anniversary that we did anything more than go to dinner and a movie. We had so much fun.

We went out to eat a couple of times, went to Wonderworks, and to the Dixie Stampede

The cabin itself was beautiful.

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This was the living room.

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If this was Cribs, I would say, “And this is where all the magic happens”. 🙂 

The three best things about the cabin were the pool table, the foosball table, and the jacuzzi. While I didn’t think you guys would appreciate pictures of us in the jacuzzi and the action was too fast and furious for photos of us playing foosball, we did take a couple of us playing pool.

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Chris won most of the pool we played.

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I only won one game of pool, but I won all but one game of foosball. 

The view from the decks of the cabin was spectacular. It really was awesome. I took several pictures, but here are a few of the best ones.

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All in all, it was a great trip. It was so nice to have time with just Chris and I. There was a bit of homework done on our trip, but, for the most part, nothing we had to do except enjoy each other. I talked it up so much, that Amy and Joel are there right now…but that’s another post. 🙂 For now, here’s one last picture of me and my Valentine.

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Thanks for seven happy years, Christopher. I love you.

Fun on Ice

Filed under: Elijah,Family,Friends,Kids,Kyra,Love,Me,Owen,Photos,Trips — Rachel at 12:14 am on Sunday, January 20, 2008

I just got back from eight fun-filled days in Springfield, Missouri. Woohoo, right? Seriously. The kids and I went to visit Amy and her kids for a week or so. The ten hour trip there was uneventful. The kids were great. They’re awesome travelers. We made it there by one thirty central time. We left at five a.m., and we only had to stop three times.

Most of our days were pretty low key, but we had tons of fun being together. It’s always interesting to see how our kids are going to react to each other. In the past, Jeremiah and Kyra have played together more than any of them. This time, however, Jeremiah and Elijah decided to be best buddies. They spent the whole time locking the girls out of their “Elijah and Jeremiah Club”. It was nice to see them actually getting along with each other. They slept in Jer’s top bunk most every night, and were usually still awake talking when the rest of us went to bed.

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The girls didn’t get along quite as well, but they did have their moments of playing well together.

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On, I think, the second day we were there, we went grocery shopping and to Target. Why am I telling you this? Because it was fun, and we have pictures. 😉

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That’s a cartload of babies, huh?

Our friend, Aimee met us at Target, and then we went home and made quesadillas.

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Aimee and Amy cooking and talking. I don’t remember what they were talking about, but I love the look on Aimee’s face.

Our friend, Joy, came over, too. The kids all love Joy, but I think Kyra is especially enamored with her.

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We sat around the kitchen table talking till after midnight. It was really nice. I wish I lived closer. I could get used to hanging out with friends.

Amy had class on Monday morning and all day Tuesday, and her kids had school all week. So, a lot of my time was spent taking and picking up kids from school, cleaning up their messes, and fixing a bajillion cups of chocolate milk. Five kids go through a lot of milk. I was really happy to actually get to be of practical help to Amy…watching Sarah and taking her to school when the babysitter unexpectedly couldn’t, etc. Living so far away, I can never do the kind of things that best friends do. I wish I could be helpful more often.

We had a donut party one day, but other than this one photo…I’m going to make a new post later with all our donut pics and video. They’re really cute.

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We were supposed to leave on Friday morning, but we hit a little hangup. The night before, on the way to Bible study, my tire was low. We aired it up, and were going to check it in the morning. So, Friday morning, I was gonna leave at six, but I ended up sleeping later and getting up at six. I went outside in the freezing cold to check my tire, and it looked like it could be a tad low but not much. So, I got ready, packed up our stuff, and went to load the van. When I went out there, at about nine, the tire was completely flat. I had to call a tow service to come change my tire for me, and then we took it to the tire store to get it fixed. It had a nail in it. It was the grace of God, though, that I slept later, and we weren’t on the road when the tire went flat. That would have really rained on my parade. Especially if it blew out on me.

These are some pictures from our wait at the tire shop. They’re fun. 🙂

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Hugging my boy.

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Biting my boy.

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My bitten boy.

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Our beautiful girls, waiting patiently.

After we go the tire fixed, we went out for pizza for lunch, and decided it was too late to head to Tennessee, so we were staying another night. We then picked Jeremiah up from school, went to Honey Heaven (a honey store that had a hive of real bees that we looked at and honey sticks that we ate), and went to the Army Surplus store. We were looking for an old school Army pt jacket. Chris lost his, and I wanted one. Amy had one that used to be Joel’s that I was coveting. Anyway, while we were there, we had fun trying on silly hats.

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I think we’ll all agree on who was the cutest.

After the crazy Army Surplus fun, we went to get Andy’s Frozen Custard. Apparently, it’s a must if you’re in Springfield. It was delicious. After that, we ordered sushi. I wasn’t the only one who tried sushi for the first time.

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Sushi is good. I think it’s my new favorite. Seriously. I had it for dinner last night, and then ate it for breakfast at four thirty this morning, and then I had some more on the drive home since my amazing friend packed me a little cooler of it. She really does make my life better…breakfast burritos and sushi are enough to warrant a lifelong friendship, no? 🙂

I so enjoyed my trip. It’s always good to be with my friend. To go to church and worship with her, to sing along to the song playing while we wait to pick up a kid from school, to eat sushi in her living room floor…no matter what we’re doing, it’s fun. I treasure each moment that I get to spend with Amy and her kids.

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She made me laugh right before she took the picture.

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Craziness. We have so much fun together.

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I don’t look so great in this photo, but Amy looks so pretty I had to post it.

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I love my friend. I miss her already.

Here’s to hoping that our next visit is just as awesome as this one was.

Just Call Me Supermom!

Filed under: Excellent Adventure,Family,Friends,Kids,Photos,Trips — Rachel at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wow! What a great trip!

Seriously. It was good. I left at five fifteen Thursday morning, made four quick stops along the 560(?) mile drive to Springfield, Missouri, and arrived at Amy’s apartment at two o’clock their time (three mine). That gave us a great deal of Thursday to spend together, too. It was so cool to pull up to her apartment complex and see my friend outside waiting on me. The fact that I had just drove ten hours with three little kids by myself was not the least of the coolness. I was pretty proud of myself. The kids were excellent, though. They were no trouble at all. Amy laughed at me when she saw that I really did wear my Supermom shirt. 🙂 What can I say? I really believe in the power of positive thinking.

Thursday evening, I was so excited to get to go to Amy’s Bible study with her. It’s a group of wives of Chaplains, Chaplain candidates, and a couple of the ladies, including Amy, were Chaplain candidates themselves. So, it was a group of women that I felt an instant connection with. They had childcare, so we had some great girls downstairs watching all our kiddos while we got to relax and enjoy the fellowship upstairs. It was really good. I was very blessed by being there. That night, we (of course) stayed up most of the night. That’s what we do, I suppose. Really, though. We have five kids six and under between us. The only quiet time we have to hang out together in peace is when they are sleeping. It was great to spend time with my friend again.

Friday morning, we got up early, on just a few hours sleep, and got everyone ready, took Jeremiah to school, and went to Joy’s church for a women’s group thing. I had talked to Joy on Facebook and heard a lot about her from Amy, but I had not yet met her in person. So, I was so very excited to get to meet her and hear her speak to the women’s group. The service there was awesome. I didn’t know any of the worship songs, but just standing there and enjoying it with all of my sisters in Christ was amazing. Joy was awesome. She spoke about the importance of our words. It was good stuff! Our friend, Aimee, was also there. I had met her once before at Fort Jackson, briefly, and I was so excited to get to see her in person. (Yes, I am claiming all of Amy’s friends. They’re great!) Before we left, we made plans to meet up with Joy and Aimee later on, and went to pick up our kids from childcare. This was a huge, huge church, and they had a highly impressive set up for the kids. It was like Disneyland or something. 🙂 The kids were in rooms by their ages, and got to go out to the playland which was like a McDonald’s playland on steroids. It was awesome. They had a blast. Elijah’s favorite part, I think, was the tiny little toilet and sink they had in the bathroom. He kept saying, “They have a wittle potty, Mama!”. You should have seen his eyes sparkle over that miniature toilet. 🙂 Really, it was highly impressive.

Friday evening, we went to Amy’s Seminary for a game night they were having. I enjoyed getting to meet some of Amy’s classmates, and put some faces with names. We didn’t play any games, though. Really, we just ate their food and took advantage of their childcare. 🙂 We mingled a bit, ate, and then sat in the prayer chapel talking in complete peace and quiet for a long time. We eventually picked up our kids and headed home.

Saturday, we met Joy, Aimee, and Aimee’s cousin, Thomas, at a park, and just hung out while the kids played. We spent the rest of the day hanging out at home.

Sunday, I was so excited to get to go to church with Amy. We dropped all the kids off in their various classes, and got to enjoy the service sans kids. I was highly impressed with Amy’s church. The music was so good. It was contemporary but not crazy. 🙂 Very worshipful and good. I enjoyed it a lot. They put their drummer in a box, though. Not sure what that was about. 😉 (Seriously. He was in a box.) I knew several of the songs, and it was good. The message was by a guest preacher, Bro. George Wood, (who is someone very important in the AG, but I forgot his title), and it was a really good message. I was highly impressed with him. That night, we went back to church, and it was just as good. I really liked Amy’s church a lot. I look forward to going back some time.

Monday, we spent most of the day at home, but took the kids to the park for a little while after picking Jeremiah up from school. That evening, we ordered pizza, and Joy came over for just a little while. It was just such a great time.

The whole trip was so much fun. It was a much needed break, and I came away feeling refreshed. Really, between the conversations with Amy and getting to pray with my friend again and then getting to attend a Bible study, a women’s meeting, and two church services, how could I not come away refreshed? It was so good to be there. I hated to leave. It never seems like enough time. I was excited to get home to my husband, though. Sometimes I feel torn between my two best friends. Really, someone needs to move. 🙂 I am praying that someday we will be stationed at the same Army post, and I will get to spend as much time with my friend as I want.

Yesterday morning, I got up, packed all my stuff up, Amy fixed me breakfast, and then, after many sad looks and a few dozen hugs goodbye, we pulled out and headed back to Tennessee. The trip was great for most of the way. I only stopped twice between Springfield and Nashville. Things got complicated in Nashville when the ramp to I-40 was completely closed. I had to get off in downtown Nashville, and find my way back to 40 via Chris telling me roads to take over the phone. I ended up spending an hour in Nashville between the waiting on the interstate to get to an exit I could get off at and finding my way back to 40. Really, though, that was a blessing, too. It reinforced what I had learned several times this summer. I am capable.I…the girl who, up until Chris went to Vegas two years ago, was too scared to drive to Knoxville…have drove two trips to Fort Jackson and back, one trip to Florida and back, and now a trip to Springfield and back (all of those with three little kids, mind you!)…and I did fine. I am more competent than I often gave myself credit for. So, I count the hour in Nashville as a blessing.

Elijah spent the rest of the trip home…all the way from Nashville back to Harriman…crying. It was about to drive me crazy. The other kids were asleep, but he just kept crying and crying. Oh, and did I mention it was raining? 🙂 My nerves were frazzled from the incessant crying, but I made it home safely close to midnight last night. I praise the Lord for safety and that I still have my sanity!

So, yay for friends! Yay for roadtrips! Yay for competence! And yay for arriving home with all children present and accounted for!

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Addendum: For all of you grandmother and adoring great aunt types who read my blog searching for any little piece of information about the children and are probably wondering, “But how did the kids do? Did they have fun?”. Well, yes. They did have a good time. However, Amy and I don’t like to admit that our children don’t really like each other very often. So, la, la, la.

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