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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.


Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Nine days and a bonus check--Go for it!

Just what all can we really accomplish over nine short days for spring break this year? Well, considering one of us is brand new to the family and also to the United States, we found a whole lot to pack into those nine days to make it a very memorable vacation. (I've decided on a bulleted list, and I'll have to pick a few bullets to write posts on later. )  I have definitely paid for it physically for not having any down time to rest or recuperate, but looking back, I have no regrets. 

  • Drive from Texas to Columbus, IN overnight and into the next morning (14 hours)
  • Visit Mike's brother Matt's family all day and spend the night (our first chance to finally meet their almost two year old son, Dane, and their first chance to meet Juan David)
  • Drive from Columbus, IN to Warsaw, IN  (4 hours)
  • Have an Alspaugh family reunion with Mike's immediate family, including our first chance to meet our new little niece, Reese, who is now 2 years old
  • Get professional photos done of the entire family together, plus different shots of each little family, all the grandkids, etc.
  • Take the boys on a tour of the little town where Mike and I met, dated, graduated, worked, went to college, got married, went to church, and had our first child.
  • Build a big snowman (not a Texas-sized one)
  • Play in lots of snow
  • Walk on a frozen lake
  • Go sledding
  • Hold a book signing/catch up with great friends we haven't seen in ten years
  • Visit lots of family 
  • Drive 4 hours back to Columbus
  • Give the boys a gun-safety lesson and let them practice shooting out in the country
  • Hang out for another two days in Colombus with Mike's brother and sister-in-law
  • Drive 4 hours to Peoria, Illinois
  • Surprise my grandfather for his 90th birthday (hadn't seen him or my grandma in about 7 years, hadn't been in their house for likely 20 years!) (Thank you, Mom, for the idea!  Definitely a huge highlight for me.)
  • Drive to St. Louis (3 hours)
  • Take a few nice pics of the Arch while driving
  • Hang out at my parents' house for the evening (first time for Juan David to be there) and also hang out with my brother, who surprisingly showed up at my Grandpa's, too!
  • Drive back to Dallas (10 hours) with my brother along for the ride

Yes, if you did the math, that makes almost 40 hours in the car, but we sure did reconnect with a whole lot of people over nine short days.  I'm sure Juan David was on overload, meeting so many family members, but I did see it beginning to help him gain a sense of his new identity. The snow made him happy!

David enjoyed every minute--he's a country boy just like his Daddy.  Mike really seemed to love being back in farm country with lots of wide open space all around. I loved spending quality time with my sisters-in-law and my new niece and nephew, seeing my parents, and being around my grandparents again. 

We relaxed (unpacked, did laundry, and slept) at home for about 11 hours before heading back to work on Monday morning.  Yes, I paid for it all week.  We made it, though, and now things are falling right back into our normal routine (school, soccer, church, school, soccer, church, busy, busy, busy.) Sigh.   I guess that's what I get for adopting a teenage boy.

Here are some pics, in no particular order:



Photo: Juan David Alspaugh's new great grandparents. They are so happy to claim him. 

 

 





 

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