Playing catch-up

I finally have a minute to sit down, Ted has the kids at the park so the house is quiet.  Two weeks ago while we were busy trying to install a water softener, we got a call that Ted’s grandfather passed away.  It was not a complete surprise because his health had been failing for the last few years.  I had only met Grandpa Floyd 2 times in my 10 years of being with Ted.  I can’t say that I really knew him or had that many memories of him so I was indifferent whether I went to the funeral or not.  Ted on the other hand wanted to go but he didn’t know if he wanted to drag 4 small children on a 12 hour one way car ride.  There were a few options that we had but in the end Ted decided that he really wanted me and the kids to go to Michigan so he could show us a few places in his memories.  He made the decision on Monday at 10 am.  I spent the rest of the day canceling schools, speech therapy, church things…..and Tuesday morning packing and getting the van ready.  We picked Luke up after school and off we went.

For the most part our children traveled really well….(there might have been the rule that if you are traveling you can have a movie and yes that means my kids watched about 24 hours of TV in 5 days for the total of 25 hours of driving time…and I don’t care because I wanted to keep my sanity.)

We stopped at a few hotels along the way which my children always look forward too because they get to swim.  They are fish with Luke and Quinn leading the way.

IMG_8125IMG_8122I was a little nervous about the funeral because Ted’s dad’s side of the family is very conservative.  Conservative enough that Ted’s mom had once voiced her concern about me being too liberal to met that side of the family.  I know I do come off pretty liberal but I think through time Doris has come to respect me and my ways.  Anyways, I spend part of Monday calling up friends to find dresses to wear while I was out there.  Yes I don’t really own any dresses or skirts.  Thankfully I had a friend who could loan me a few so I was set.  I did find it surprising that I had to defend my choices to show respect by wearing a dress with my family.  My family thought I was changing myself too much and not being true to myself by wearing a dress.  I felt it was a sign of respect to a culture.  IMG_8136Here is a picture of all the cousins or at least the ones that made it to the funeral.  I do find it comical that Ted and his brother are about 6 inches taller then anyone else.  Even though I was dressed in navy, it just wasn’t the right look.  I definitely felt out of place.  My first time meeting everyone and of coarse my mouth got me into trouble a few times, not because I wanted to offend them but because I just didn’t understand their culture, their traditions, their way of life.   For the most part they were very forgiving and accepting.  I was worried that I was going to be judged and not accepted in their circle but that was not what I experienced.  Sure there were a few women who didn’t talk to me (they also didn’t know me at all) but most of them were so loving and fun to talk to.  They laughed a friendly laugh when Ted hung up his coat on the women’s side of the church, they quickly invited us to their homes so our children would have a place to play.  Our children were a little shy at first but as soon as the Amish horses and buggies showed up, it gave all the little children something to talk about and they started to interact with each other.  My children still had the brightest colored clothing on but they were just part of the group of second cousins playing with each other.  (Ok, it was really hard to get a picture of all the children looking and smiling without some other parent walking in front.  Because I was one of the taller people there, I went to the back but I still kept on getting adult heads in the picture. Oh well.)IMG_8150 On our drive home, Ted and I talked about may things like,

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  Romans 12:2

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.   1 John 2:15-17

A woman must not put on men’s clothing, and a man must not wear women’s clothing. Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the LORD your God.  Deuteronomy 22:5

Had we become to much part of this world with all of it’s technological conveniences that we lose sight of what is important.  I let my children watch 24 hours of TV while we drove.  A few of Ted’s cousins live just as far away as we do.  Since they take the radios out of their cars and clearly do not approve of TV, they read and talked to their children for 24 hours.  To our credit, we were talking to our children during their movies and we made them stop the movies when something interesting was coming up but otherwise it was peaceful and easy to just turn on the movies for them.

Now I don’t think I will be buying any dresses soon, I figured my stretchy jeans are not really man cut anyways but it did make Ted and I check to see if we had our priorities correct and that our actions in our daily life match what we want to pass on to our children.

As the funeral activities continued, we got a phone call from my mom…our basement is flooded.  Water is just pouring into the stairwell in our garaged, pooling there and then running through the doorway into our finished basement.  Just great.  I ended up calling 2 youth group members to stay at our house overnight to run the shop-vac every 20 minutes.  My mom took the next day shift and then the youth came back to our house until we got home.

We were in a hurry to get home but we couldn’t just drive 12 hours after we promised our children a few fun things to do so we quickly stopped at the Air Zoo in Michigan.  I really liked it.  It was a museum with lots of information on aircraft, the air force, even the role of women pilots in WWII.  IMG_8185So our little children were not bored they had lots of aircraft to look at and rides…yes rides.  We had a blast.IMG_8163   After a few hours there, we quickly loaded up and drove 10 hours to get home.  We took all Sunday to clean up our wet basement.  My children went out to my moms to run and walk through the woods for about 4 hours (no TV).  Monday seemed to be settling down until 8:05 am when Ted called me and told me to do his laundry because he was leaving at noon to fly to San Diego for the week.  So my past week I was a single mom with 4 children who was still cleaning up from the trip to Michigan and dealing with a wet leaking basement which by the way….is still leaking.  But at least the carpet is dry now.  We are able to keep the water in the stairwell as long as we use the shop-vac.  Hopefully this week will be less crazy, wishful thinking right?

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About tochinaandbackagain

I am a stay at home mom to two very active boys and soon we will bring home two Chinese twin girls with cleft lip and palate issues. I spend my day trying to be the best parent and wife I can be with God leading the way.
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One Response to Playing catch-up

  1. Patti says:

    Bless you Michelle for the wonderful Mom that you are! As I have often made that trip I can so relate! It is a long haul but I do also recall a lot of good family chats in route! You created some wonderful memories!

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