Three thousand three hundred thirty-six miles – and we’re home.
I’ve missed you!
I didn’t expect to take such a long break from writing, that’s for sure, but life didn’t go the way I expected the week before we left.
Russ was in Kenya and I was supposed to be finishing up the school year with the kids, wrapping up blog and work details, all while packing for our trip.
Unfortunately, I got sick, and didn’t manage any of it very well.
I even had two wonderful guest posts nearly ready for you and those didn’t get set to go either – you’re going to love them when I share them with you later.
Life – it just keeps happening.
Russ got home, we packed, cleaned our house for Noah and Katie (who were housesitting), took care of the essential details (care for the steers and dog), and took off Tuesday morning.
Unfortunately, by then Russ was sick. He grew sicker as we traveled and we went to a doctor in Billings, MT who sent us to the ER for a malaria test. Thankfully, it came back negative.
We made it to Minneapolis Thursday night and he started antibiotics which eventually helped him kick what was most likely a bacterial infection from travel.
Hannah’s graduation from Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery residency was Friday. We all attended the morning ceremony where she gave a beautiful speech. That night, Zoe kept the boys during the formal dinner while Claire came with us. The entire day was inspiring.
Five years of very hard work, done, and now she’s off to a two-year fellowship.
We enjoyed three more days in Minneapolis, celebrating at her party, having fun with friends, and seeing a little bit of the city.
Our kids have never experienced city life and it was a great experience – riding bikes in the alley, playing in the nearby park, and walking to an urban Farmers’ Market.
They quickly made friends with Hannah’s “Minneapolis family” (a single mom with 11 kids – 8 adopted – she’s amazing) and we had a hard time saying goodbye Monday night. Most of the kids chose to avoid it altogether – lots of trauma in the histories of all of our kids, so we adults let them cope with it as they chose.
Tuesday we headed to De Smet, South Dakota where we fulfilled a long-held dream of mine of visiting the Ingalls Homestead near the shores of Silver Lake.
I read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to my children many times as they were growing up, especially during our 23 years of homeschooling. It was a sweet time for us.
The day ended with warm hospitality at our friends’ 1884 homestead in Fedora, SD, not far from the Ingalls, where we ate a wonderful dinner and the kids played until we all fell into bed late that night.
The next morning we said goodbye to our friends and to Hannah who had joined us for the first bit of our trip. Then we headed west for two long days of driving until we pulled into our driveway Thursday night.
We missed our two older (still living at home) girls on this trip. Annarose is working as a camp counselor, so she couldn’t join us, and Beza was traveling to Denver to visit friends and then go to camp, so she also stayed behind. This is what it’s like to have your kids grow up – they can’t always go on summer vacations with the family.
It’s Monday and I’m digging back into life – figuring out what the rest of our summer is going to look like. We just found out my dad is having open heart surgery in late July, so I’m looking at things a little differently now.
Although I didn’t blog at all during the trip, I posted on Instagram and used the “my story” feature to show some of our activities.
The photos and videos disappear after 24 hours and they’re unedited, more “life as it’s happening,” which I kind of like. I also like being able to add lots of little pics and clips knowing I’m not clogging up anyone’s Insta feed. Let me know what you think!
Also, I know I’ve mentioned this before, we can’t share any photos showing Zoe’s* face, so that eliminates sharing many of the pictures we took.
All for today!
[*Zoe is the name our foster daughter chose to use on my blog.]