Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cruise and Updates

On Saturday, April 25 we left San Jose and drove to Los Angeles to our friend’s (Kevin and Katherine Bubna) house. That morning I had woken up with a cold, what timing, right? Katherine took care of me by cooking some garlic and putting it on toast for me, she said garlic would help since it is a natural antibiotic. She also gave me some ruby red grapefruit juice. I took some Nyquil when I went to bed and woke up feeling much better. On Sunday morning, Kevin and Katherine brought us to San Diego where our cruise ship was to disembark. We were so blessed to have them bring us all the way from Los Angeles, which is a 2 ½ hour drive. They kept our van in their garage so it and all our things inside would be safe. We can’t thank them enough.

The cruise was wonderful, although we have been very active going from this place to that place on the ship we had been able to get a lot rest which we needed. Our cruise went from San Diego to Catalina Island, followed by a stop at Ensenada, Mexico and then returning to San Diego. We did not get off the ship at Catalina Island since all of the excursions there are so expensive. Instead we had fun on the ship where there were far fewer people since so many had gone to visit Catalina. The kids basically had a private pool for the day. The next day was to be an all day stop at Ensenada but no passengers were allowed off the ship due to the Swine Flu epidemic that has rocked Mexico. For the time being all cruise lines have canceled all stops in Mexico, instead we had an extra day at sea. We were disappointed but we could also understand. You wouldn’t want one person getting back on the ship sick and then having the whole ship quarantined. That would not be good at all.

The kids loved Camp Carnival and Circle C. Camp Carnival had several different age groups. Erin’s group was only for ages 9 to 11 years which was good and Jonathan’s Circle C was only for ages 12 – 14 which again was very good. Jonathan loved his group and wished it were open all day long. Of course for those that know Jonathan well, I bet you can guess what they were able to do in there. Yup! They had video games for free. There are a total of only twenty kids in his age group on the whole ship so he had almost exclusive use of the Playstations and Wii. Erin did a scavenger hunt and made a Carnival pig (kind of like Build a Bear). It has a recordable sound chip in it, so at one point she recorded, “Hi, I’m a pig but I don’t have Swine Flu.” We thought it best that she didn’t keep it on that recording for very long, although it was kind of funny. Both Jonathan and Erin were able to make a few new friends. Erin met a girl named Maddy, who is from Australia and Erin loves trying to imitate her accent. Jim and I went between staying with Erin and Jonathan depending on what they are doing. We had a moment or two when we had a chance to walk around the deck without the kids. It was usually only about a half hour, but we took what we could get. One night we went to the Lido deck to Tiffany’s Restaurant and just sat and had a cup of coffee together.

We are now on land again and in LA where we will stay the night with our friends the Bubnas again. The weather is absolutely gorgeous. While we are here over night we are repacking clothes so we can get everything in the car tomorrow.

As much as we are enjoyed the cruise, we are ready to get on the road again and get to our house in Mexico so we can begin doing what God has called us to do. That brings me to a prayer request. With all of the warnings to travelers, we would like prayer that our entrance into Mexico will go smoothly. For now the News says things are going smoothly at the border but that could change at any time. We know that Satan is throwing every curve ball at us that he can. I was sick last Saturday, I have been fighting this cold over and over again. I am again feeling better but since it keeps coming and going I would appreciate as much prayer as possible so that we are all as completely healthy as possible when we cross the border. We have many relatives concerned about our going into Mexico but we have much prayer coverage and do not feel that God is leading us to stay here. Since he has not changed his calling for us, we must continue to go until he tells us to do something else.

The kids at the pool.

Jonathan at Circle C

Erin at Camp Carnival

24 hour all you can eat pizza

24 hour all you can eat soft serve ice cream

Miniture Golf on Deck 12.

Pictures from the formal dinner.

Tomorrow we will be traveling east to Phoenix, AZ where we will visit my Aunt Pearl and Uncle Al. I haven't seen them for a very long time. After leaving Phoenix, we will be traveling to Brownsville, TX where we will enter Mexico. Please continue to pray for our travel, health, and overall journey.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We're in LA

We arrived in Granada Hills, just outside of Los Angeles last night at the home of our friends Kevin and Katherine Bubna. We are spent the night here and today they are bringing us to San Diego tomorrow. For those that don't know, from the first time when we first started talking about moving to Mexico, we told the kids that we would take a vacation on the way down. We said we could go to Disney Land or go on a cruise, so we have been saving since then to pay for this vacation with the kids. The last five years our vacation has been our mission trip to Mexico and while it has been very fun but we are looking forward to doing this with the kids. Right now, the cruise lines are hurting so bad because of the recession that they are practically giving cruises away so it was much cheaper than Disney Land.

One of the things about taking the cruise was deciding what to do with our van while we are on the ship. We were planning on just parking in the paid parking close to the cruise line and praying that everything would be there when we got back. When I talked to Katherine one night, she suggested we come to their house, we could park our car in their garage and they would drive us to San Diego to catch our cruise. What a blessing from God. Now we do not have to worry about our van which is loaded with all our essentials of home.

When we leave San Diego on the ship today, we will not have any contact for about four days. Our cruise is a four night cruise going to Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. We will arrive back in San Diego the morning on April 30th. Then from there, Katherine will pick us back up and drive us up to LA again. From there we will travel to Phoenix, Arizona. We will be stopping to see my Aunt and Uncle that live there. After that, we will be heading through the rest of Arizona and New Mexico then in to Texas where we will cross the border into Mexico from Brownsville, Texas. Those will be our longest travel days. We will then be stopping in Matamoros, Mexico and visiting with Elias and Flora who run the Esperanza Viva home there. Then we will travel south in a two day trip to Puebla. We are excited to be one our way again and look forward to getting to Esperanza Viva in Cholula (near Puebla).

Going Away Party at El Burro

Last night, Adrian and Gloria hosted a going away party for us at El Burro. We were aloud to invite some of our friends from when we lived here and there were people there that Jim worked with and some that I had worked with years ago when I worked at the preschool. We had a wonderful time with all of them.

Bob and Bernie. I actually met Bernie when I was working at the preschool.

Jim with Ray and Tammy Coate. Ray worked with Jim when he was
first working with Adrian. They have been friends ever since.

Betty is a teacher at the preschool and I worked with her years ago. She is such a sweet wonderful person who always has a smile on her face.
Gail with Betty
Adrian visiting with Marc, his son-in-law. Marc and Tammy run the preschool.
Johnny, Louisa, and Gloria. Johnny works for Adrian and has worked with Jim. Louisa is called the horse lady. She does a lot of training of the horses with Adrian on Adrian's ranch.

Steve Rapinchuk. Steve and his wife, Marisa, went to church with us when we lived in San Jose. Jim has met with Steve on a regular basis to have breakfast and keep each other accountable as Christian men, husbands and fathers.
This is Steve's wife, Marisa.
Adrian and Gloria
Richard and Angie. Angie used to work at the preschool and Richard has done a lot of work with Adrian.
Adrian got Jim and iPod touch as a going away party. He was quite surprised and also quite pleased. Obviously Erin was surprised also.
Erin with Louisa. Erin had a great time learning about the horses, riding them, getting bucked off of one, and brushing the horses this week with Louisa. We were disappointed that we didn't get to see the pregnant horse have her baby but Louisa promises to send pictures of it when it is born.
Gloria said that I should put this silly picture of Adrian on the blog.

Adrian and Gloria have meant so much to us over the last 29 years. Adrian has come to rely on Jim so much so this is quite a sacrifice for him to let Jim go. But he sends us with his blessing. We appreciate all Adrian and Gloria have done for us and no words can adequately express that thanks. I only hope they understand how much we appreciate them. Thanks for a wonderful evening Adrian and Gloria!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Visiting with the Aseltines

Last night we spent the evening visiting with our friends, Bruce and Sarah Asletine. It has been quite a few years since we have seen them but like with other friends of ours, we were able to pick up right where we left off. We had a wonderful evening of catching up. Bruce and Sarah have two children, Anna and Griffin. Jonathan and Erin had a great time playing the Wii with them. The four of them played MarioKart together for a while. Erin also had fun playing with their dog, Flaxy. Of course Erin loves anytime there is an animal around. Thank you Bruce and Sarah for sharing your evening with us.

Bruce and Sarah

The kids playing MarioKart Wii

Today is our last day in San Jose. Tonight, we are having a going away dinner at El Burro restaurant hosted by Adrian and Gloria. We look forward to that and being able to see everyone. Adrian and Gloria have done so much for us this week and we are truly grateful. There are not words enough to express our thanks to them.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Miss Buckaroo

Today was another great day at the ranch and it came with some excitement.

This is LA (Little Apache).

This is Erin on top of LA.

I wish I was taking video with our Flip video camera because then I could put the video on here. But for now, you will have to use your imagination. Adrian asked Erin if she wanted to break LA in. (LA had been ridden by one other person, someone much smaller than her.) He said he wouldn't let her get hurt and he would stay right by her the whole time, which he did. After several rounds in one direction, everything was going well then Louisa changed direction. After half a turn around the ring, LA decided he didn't like Erin being on him so he bucked up his back legs, then his front legs, then bucked her off into Adrian's arms. Adrian was true to his word and caught her but she was heavier than he thought she would be. He fell forward and almost fell but kept himself and Erin upright. So, everyone was fine and LA got a break for a moment until they put Erin back on him just to sit so he didn't get the idea he could just buck someone off. She didn't stay on long the second time, just long enough that LA knew who was boss. Erin did great and never panicked. Mom didn't either which was really good.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Animal Planet

One thing that is quite available here is animals of all kinds. Erin loves animals and so she is having a very good time. Anytime we go to the storage yard, where Jim worked, they like to see Bubba, Tammy's parrot. He is about eleven years old and has a few tricks that he does. He says "Hello", "Hi", and he laughs at people too. The other day I was dancing with him (rocking back and forth) and after he gave a few chuckles. It was pretty funny. Tammy has taught him how to give kisses but she is the only one he gives kisses to.

This morning we found out that Adrian caught a rattle snake yesterday. Yes, I said a rattle snake. He is a big one too with fourteen rattles on him. Not something I would want to catch. Gloria keeps reminding Adrian that he is not a kid anymore. You can hear his rattle from outside the room that he is in. He is in a cage just in case you are wondering.

Erin caught a frog at the storage yard this morning and a lizard at Adrian and Gloria's this afternoon. With all of the animals, Erin is having a great time. Jonathan enjoys them, but nothing like Erin does.

Here are some pictures in a slide show of all of the animals. Quite the zoo.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Animal Planet
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

A Great Day!

Yesterday we had a great day. While Jim was helping Adrian build a dog run, Gloria brought Brooke (Gloria's granddaughter), Jonathan, Erin and me to the movies. We went to see Race to Witch Mountain. At first, the name threw me off and I didn't want to see it but after looking it up on Plugged In (through Focus on the Family) I realized it was a sci-fi movie. So we went and saw it and it was really a good movie. After the movie, Gloria took us to In and Out Burgers for lunch. I had never been there. It was pretty good. Erin and Brooke got stickers there and Erin decided to decorate her face with them. Silly girl! Thank you Gloria for treating us to such a great time!

Later in the evening we went to my friend Bernie's house for dinner. I hadn't seen Bernie for quite a few years. She cooked a wonderful meal which we all enjoyed. Jonathan found out that green beans with bacon is good. We had a great time of catching up with her and Bob. Bob even showed Erin a trick of holding on to one foot and jumping the other leg through the hole that it created. Erin tried several time but couldn't do it. So, she did a few back walk overs that Bob couldn't do. Thank you Bob and Bernie for blessing us.

Gail and Bernie


Here is Erin trying to jump through her the hole from holding on to one foot. As you can see, it didn't work real well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Visiting with Old Friends

On Monday night we were blessed by being invited to dinner at the Smith's house. Vic and Jennifer Smith are friends of ours that we went to church with here in San Jose when we lived here. We were also able to see Neil and Lisa Johnson who were at the same church with us. It was wonderful to catch up on things and hear what each one is doing now. We were also able to share how we got to where we are today - heading to Mexico for full time missions.

Neal and Lisa Johnson

Vic and Jennifer Smith

The kids, especially Erin, thought it was pretty cool that Vic and Jennifer had a pot belly pig in their back yard. Jennifer has worked with 4H for years and so they have lot of animals.

They also had chickens, ducks, two birds and three dogs. Jonathan really liked the bird. They were able to get it to whistle.

Tonight we have plans to go to my friend Bernie's house. Bernie and I have been friends since our oldest children were just babies. We look forward to a good visit with her and her family tonight.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Absolutely Wonderful Day

Today was an absolutely wonderful day! We began by going to church at South Hills where we attended when we lived here. We were able to see a few people we knew. We happened to attend on a Sunday when they were having a pot luck after church so we stayed for lunch. That was a blessing!

Then after church we went back to the hotel and Jim brought Erin swimming while Jonathan and Gail stayed in the hotel room. Jonathan was able to talk to his friend, Conner, who he was missing quite a bit today and Gail was able to take a short nap. Unlike most hotel beds, the beds in this hotel are very comfortable.

Later in the afternoon we went up to Adrian's house (Jim's boss) and Erin had a great time riding a horse while Jonathan was able to get the puppy to come to him. Adrian has three 1/2 husky, 1/2 wolf dogs. He also has two more dogs, four cats and eight horses. He has a ranch in Almaden Valley in San Jose. Jonathan is not real comfortable with the horses. At one point, I thought one of the kids was pushing me and I was ready to turn around and tell them to stop, but when I turned around, I realized it was a horse nudging me. It was rather funny.

After the fun at the ranch, Adrian took us out to dinner at a place called Sonoma Chicken Coop. The food was wonderful and once again, we were blessed. Thank you Adrian. Now for some pictures from the day.

Jim and Gail with one of the horses.

Adrian, Erin, and Sally (the horse Erin rode on).

Erin sitting on Sally.

Here Erin is riding Sally. Sally is actually nine months pregnant so she could only walk her, she wasn't allowed to trot or run her. She has 2-1/2 months to go. A horse is pregnant for eleven months.

Here are two of Adrian's wolf dogs. Apparently they howl in the morning and the puppy likes to be greeted with howls. The while wolf is named Loba (which means wolf in Spanish), and the other one is Wolfy.

Jonathan trying to get Koda used to him so he could pick him up.

Later Jonathan was able to pick him up and that really made Jonathan happy.

Erin got a chance to hold Koda also.

Erin really enjoyed the cats also.

After the day out, the kids enjoyed the pool at the hotel again.

By the way: Adrian has one horse that is pregnant and due to deliver any day now. We told him that if she gives birth this week to call us so we could come. That's home schooling 101 isn't it?