2017 Total Solar Eclipse Trip

Hello everyone!

We went to North Carolina back in August for the Total Solar Eclipse!

So I’ll try to write about it now, even though it’s been a few months since it happened.

Day 1, August 18

On Friday we girls packed our last-day things into our garment bags and all. Reese was at work that day, because we planned to leave in the evening. Mom had to go trade vans down at our other house in Geneseo with some missionaries who were borrowing our van and staying at our house.  After lunch we started packing stuff into the van. I had to go out with the tractor and mow a strip of the front yard that didn’t get mowed earlier that week because of a hornets’ nest that had been in a tree. (Annabelle found the nest the hard way and got stung.😟😢 ) So when I was done, I helped get the last few things gathered up and packed into the van. At last we were on our way!😄

It was quite a warm day and we had the air-conditioning going as we drove to where Reese works. (He works at Lakeshore Metal for the Amish, driving truck and making trim.) We got there after 3:00 P.M., the time we had tried to arrive. They were having their afternoon break and we got to meet everyone. About 45 minutes later, Reese got in the truck and we drove to a place where they were going to fix our truck for us while we were gone. Well, they were supposed to fix it…Anyway, we finally left and we got on the interstate! Now we were really traveling!☺

We drove for several hours. I read a book while we drove. We got to Pennsylvania!

For supper we stopped at the best place to stop for food while traveling: Chick-fil-A!

 

We didn’t have it in NY yet so it was a treat. After we were done eating, we got a move on. We got to Ohio after it was dark and pulled in at my mom’s aunt’s place around 9:30 P.M. After greeting her we got our things from the van that we would need for the night and got ready for bed. I plugged in the camera battery and set a reminder on Annabelle’s phone to get it in the morning! Annabelle and I slept in the living room.

Pictures from Arkansas Trip-Day 1

Here are the pictures that go with day 1 of the Arkansas trip!

The list of ingredients…

Mom and Annabelle trying to get the shades to open before we left.

Me sitting on the couch while we were waiting to leave.

Annabelle and Naomi on the other couch.View of the front end of the bus.

Naomi and me sleeping while we drove.Reese looking at the owners manual for the bus when we stopped somewhere. 

Naomi and I ate lunch at the little table in the bus. (We were stopped somewhere, as you are not supposed to sit at the table while the vehicle is in motion.)Rain!

And more rain!

And, some MORE rain!💦

Tuna casserole that we made for supper. (It does taste better than it looks in that picture!)

When we got bored that evening we made a “tent” by putting a blanket over the bed. The trick to keeping it up was to latch it inside some cabinet doors that were above the bed!😄

Annabelle and Naomi playing “Phase Ten”. 

Phase Ten again.

So there are some pictures for day 1. I hope to get day 2 out soon!!😁

~Karen~

 

 

 

Arkansas Trip, Thanksgiving 2017 (By Karen)

Thanksgiving was quite a while ago—all of four months! But I thought that it would be of interest to some to read of our adventurous trip down to Arkansas to visit family for Thanksgiving. So here I go!!😀

Let me start with the night before we left. We had had a birthday supper that evening to celebrate Trevor’s birthday that was that day. After he and Dylan and Emily had left, we began taking things out to the RV. (We were going to be taking our RV on our trip.) During the few days before the trip, we had taken a lot of things for the trip out there already, so these things were just some last-minute things we had forgotten earlier. For example, a sleeping mat for me to sleep on. (I was going to be sleeping on the floor during this trip, and I definitely didn’t want to forget THAT!) We went over our list of ingredients that we were going to need to make meals, to make sure that we had everything out in the RV pantry that we needed. (We had made a list of what meal we were going to make each night, so we could take only the ingredients that we needed.) After it seemed like there were ENOUGH things out there, we went to bed in hopes of getting up early the next day and getting our trip started nice and early.

Day #1, November 18, 2017…

I got up early and got ready for the day. When I went downstairs, there was no one around down there. I figured that they would be up pretty soon and decided not to worry myself about that. I believe I got something and took it out to the RV, but I don’t remember what it was. I was in the office and when I came out I saw that Reese was lying on the couch! Gulp! Well! I got him up. By this time Naomi was downstairs. (By the way, that day was her 16th birthday, in case you wondered!) We discovered a few bags that Mom had put by the door and we took them out to the RV. Annabelle had eventually found her way downstairs by then. When Mom came down, I honestly can’t remember what we did before we went outside to the RV. But I do remember that it really took us a long time to get going. FINALLY we went out and locked the door! When we got out to the RV, it still took a long time before we left. Reese was trying to navigate the GPS to a place where he wanted to stop and get diesel. While he was doing that, Annabelle remembered something that she had left in the house! So she had to take the key and let herself back into the house. I can’t remember anymore what it was that she wanted. But she eventually came back out. Finally Reese had the GPS set up how he wanted it and we could leave! After we sang and prayed, we started out…FINALLY!! It was much later than we wanted to start, but at least we were finally on our way! 😊 The thrill of watching the scenery whiz past our windows very quickly lost its appeal. Besides, it was familiar landscape for the first half-hour or so! We read our Bibles and looked at the birthday cards Naomi had gotten in the mail. It didn’t seem long until our big ol’ RV was rumbling its way into the gas station to get diesel. By now, we were in COMPLETELY unfamiliar territory, and we were watching the things around us with interest. A tractor trailer truck pulled up to the other side of the pump we were at and a lady got out and started pumping herself some diesel. We had already gotten ours, and while Reese was inside paying, I got out and offered her a tract, which she declined. When Reese came out a couple of minutes later, he also offered her one, not knowing that I already had. She refused his, too. He came inside and soon we were on our way again with Mom driving. Since Reese had his license but Mom only had her permit, he had to sit up there the whole time she drove to “supervise” and he couldn’t go lie down or anything. Since it is not against the law to ride without seatbelts in the RV, Naomi and I went to the back of the RV to the “bedroom” and made the bed, so that at nighttime it would be ready for Mom to sleep in. It is really fun to lie on the bed and watch out the window. And in the summer, it is really fun to do that with the window open! But back to making the bed! Annabelle came back there after we had the bed made. Soon we were starting to talk about lunch. The plan for that day’s lunch was to make tuna subs with a bunch of sub rolls we had gotten for free. It was then that Annabelle made the interesting discovery that we had not brought the can opener. So we decided that we would have to stop somewhere and buy one. Of course, Reese was sure that we didn’t need one, but he wasn’t the one making lunch! We stopped at a gas station/store with an interesting name, but I can’t remember what it was. Reese and I went in and asked if they had can openers but they didn’t. The lady said that there was a Dollar General down the road a ways that would probably have one. So we thanked her, and left. We drove to the Dollar General and Reese and Naomi went in. They came out with a can opener! So we continued to drive, while we girls made the subs. We cut them and passed them out. They were pretty good, especially since I had not eaten breakfast. After lunch, we girls went to the back where the bed was and watched out the window. It was drizzling outside. After a while I stopped looking out the window at the boring highway and sat down at the end of the bed to read a book. I was so tired, and the next thing I knew I was waking up. While I had been sleeping, my head was in a funny position so my neck was sore. I fell asleep again in a comfortable position and when I woke up the next time, my neck didn’t hurt anymore. By now it was POURING!!! Reese was driving, and Mom was sleeping on the couch. It was super bad visibility out there, and a lot of people had their flashers on. Oh, I didn’t tell you that by that time we were in Ohio! When we stopped the next time at a gas station, we decided to make and eat supper before going on, which would give the rain a chance to stop. We made tuna casserole, and while it baked, Mom took a nap and we girls and Reese watched people out the huge windshield. We saw some Amish people. After the casserole came out of the oven, we ate it. We were really eager to get a move on since the storm had stopped and we still had quite a ways until we reached where we were going to be spending the night. We eventually did leave. It was dark in the RV but we did not turn the lights on because it would have made a glare on the windshield. We dozed sitting on the couches or on the bed. We finally crossed the state border into Indiana. After that I fell into a really deep sleep…
Slam!
“He said to go around the building and we should be able to park over there.”
I sat up suddenly and rubbed my eyes. Where were we? Why had the door slammed? Had Mom gone out and talked to someone? Who had told us to go around the building? I was too tired to try to figure out the answers to those questions, so I lay down again. I was aware that we were driving around slowly. Then we were backing up. Next the RV engine shuddered to a stop, and all was quiet. For a while I lay there, not moving. Then I sat up as they turned the light on. Apparently, we had gotten to the truck stop we were going to spend the night at. Reluctantly I got off the couch. I went to the back for my sleeping mat, pillow, and blankets. Annabelle and Naomi put their blankets and pillows on the two couches. Reese put his sleeping mat on the floor of the kitchen and I put mine on the floor of the living room, between the couches. And Mom slept on the bed in the back. A tractor trailer pulled up beside us while we were getting our beds ready, but never turned off. I lay down on my mat and pulled the blanket over me. All around me everyone was talking. Then… OUCH!! Someone stepped on my arm!! Finally they went to their respective beds and the light was turned off. I closed my eyes, soon fell asleep to the hum of the tractor trailer beside us, and never woke up until the next morning.

So, there you have it—day 1 of the trip down to Arkansas. The lesson learned from day 1 is- Don’t forget a can opener when going on a trip, especially if you are planning to make tuna subs in an RV while you drive!!!😉

Parfitts visit Taronga zoo

[March 27, 2018—-

I JUST DISCOVERED THAT I NEVER POSTED THIS! I WILL JUST POST IT AND THEN THE GIRLS WANT TO TRY THEIR HAND AT WRITING ON THE BLOG. ~ JAMIE]

Hello again,

It’s Saturday, Jan. 26, at 10:07 pm in NZ. I am eager to write about New Zealand, but first I want to write about taking the children to Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

We originally thought we were going to take a day to retrace the places that Reese went when he came over here with Pastor and Mrs. Folk and five other young people. They visited the same family in New Zealand that we are staying with right now. Then they took a day to stay  in Sydney and just see the sights.

So Friday morning, we got up and tried to get an early start. My planned 8 am start turned into a 10 am start. Oh well, that is completely par for the course. I keep telling people my middle name is late.

We walked to the train station, following a little map we got at the front desk. We found ourselves mostly walking behind houses. It was interesting, as it was in complete daylight, but we didn’t want to return that same way. I had found the location of the nearest station by using the internet that morning, and had tried to explore the costs of tickets for us. I think it took 20 minutes to walk to the station. The ticket agent had me pay for each of the boys as adults, but the three girls only had to pay for one ticket for the three of them. Thus began a little pattern of putting the ticket in and quickly scooting through before the gate closed again. We didn’t know how it knew we had three children for one ticket, so Karen scooted through before me. She seemed stressed each time. Only once did one of them get kind of pinched by the flaps (hope  I have a picture to illustrate that).

I decided we would quickly go to the zoo first. You do that by taking a ferry across the bay. The tickets we bought included as many train and ferry rides as we wanted for the whole day. Nice! We rode down to the ferry, found our dock, had a short wait before getting on the ferry and going up to the top deck. We found a shady covered open area to sit in and we set our few snacks on our benches. I fought down my worry about children falling overboard (no one is offered life vests). We came around the Sydney Opera House. It isn’t really all that impressive. It’s unique, but the individual tiles make it look kind of like a golf ball up close. Since I don’t like opera music and don’t believe it is even godly, I didn’t have any desire to go to it. Good thing. We were at the zoo all day!

We arrived at our dock and took the bus up the winding hill to the entrance. We queued up and calculated our tickets. Even with the family ticket (which gave us 15% off the total of four adults and four children), it was a bit expensive. But a once-in-a-lifetime trip is going to cost more than camping at Keuka Lake State Park. 🙂

We all got a free zoo map and started out. The first thing was a quick look at an alligator and then we walked up and around a ramp that encircled an small enclosure for the koalas. By this time it was about 11 am and it was hot. The koalas were sleeping. They were boring. Dylan said that he wouldn’t believe they were real unless they moved. We left there and looked for more animals to see if they would move. 🙂

 

Second New Zealand post

1-26-13, 12:26 am NZ time

I keep trying to post on our blog! I started this one ten days ago, and then never found the time to add photos. So here I am, needing to go to bed, and I am trying to get this post to work. I had it all written and captioned and accidentally didn’t save it when I navigated away. I hope this has been worth the wait!

~~Jamie

1-15-13, 3:56 pm NZ time

This is actually funny. So far, I have not written about New Zealand!

Here is an email that I tried to send from our “hotel” room when we were in Sydney, Australia. (I say “hotel” because we stayed in a 3-bedroom service apartment, much better than a hotel. It had a kitchen and six-person meal table, utility room with washer and dryer, and two complete bathrooms.) I could not send with Outlook, even though I could receive. It was quite disappointing, because I paid for 24 hours of internet, but I barely used it, due to inability to send by hitting reply. I gradually got smarter, going to webmail and then to my Opera account. What I wanted from Outlook was my address book! Who takes the time to type all that into webmail? Not me! I can open Outlook and find addresses, but I wasn’t about to spend my day and half in Sydney typing addresses into Opera or webmail. I could have done it on the long flight over, had I realized I would want it. Oh well, we live and learn. Anybody traveling may want to consider doing that if they plan to send out large group emails!

This “email” I am about to post was supposed to be forwarded to the whole church (Old Paths Bible Baptist Church), but the copy in my inbox doesn’t seem to have the words. So here it is, as I sent it.

Hello everyone,

Well, it’s kind of funny. I asked a few people who had come this way before if I should try to get Australian money through AAA before coming. I was told that the exchange rate here would be better, so I assumed I would get cash (after talking with our NZ friends) at the airport with my credit card. I misunderstood just about all the advice I received. I don’t usually pay for things in life with cash. I like to have a record of my spending, so I used mostly credit card, some debit, and some online banking, with a few checks written a month. I actually had a $100 bill in my purse that I took out and left behind, because I don’t like carrying around big bills. Trevor had paid it to me for his insurance.

So. We landed and stopped at some benches to compare our landing cards and make sure they were filled out the same. They were close enough. 🙂 Then we lugged our way to customs. I told the man I had unopened packages of nuts in several suitcases. Not a problem. I told the man we have shoes from a farm and they might have a little soil still on them but that we had wiped all the shoes with disinfectant. Not a problem. I asked if the Pepperidge Farms goldfish in a package were OK. Not a problem. We just walked right along and got to the counters. The man said, “Grab a line.” So we got into two lines and just sailed right through. Everyone was friendly and cheerful. We took our many, highly-loaded carts to the quarantine area and we laid our bags on the floor in a line. A cute little dog (maybe a beagle) sniffed all along the line. He stopped at the same one on the way up and on the way back, but the handler didn’t seem to be bothered by it. Then he sniffed another one near the beginning and the handler asked if we have a dog at home. We answered that we didn’t. I asked if the dog barks if he finds something. The other man said he just looks up at the handler as if to say, “I found it. Now can I have my treat?”

We went on to the exiting area and I herded us over to the money exchange business in the corner. He said they only exchange cash; they don’t give cash for credit cards. I was directed to a bank machine across the way. I told the kids to encircle the carts of luggage while I used the cash machine. I put in my Visa card and it asked me for a PIN. Pin! I don’t have one of those for my credit card! So I called the number on the back of the card. No connection. Did my new international phone not work as I expected it to? I tried again and got through. I explained to the lady in Missouri that I was in Sydney, Australia, and that I needed a PIN to get money to pay for a cab to take us out of the airport. She connected me to some automated PIN department which proceeded to tell me I would receive my PIN in 7-10 days! What!!! It said if I needed cash before that to go to a bank. Great. I had 14 suitcases and about 10 carryons and we could not take the luggage carts away from the airport to find a bank somewhere to get some cash! Now what?

I decided to call my junior pastor who has traveled more than anyone in the church probably and who had helped us arrange most of the portions of our trip. I had to leave a message. It was actually one hour before the evening church service was supposed to start for Wednesday night back home. It was 10 am here in Sydney. So I called our friends in New Zealand to see if they had any brilliant ideas. Not really. I called Pastor Folk while Reese and Dylan went to ask a taxi driver if he took credit cards. I could hear Pastor, though his words were fuzzy, but he kept saying, “Can you hear me?” I didn’t go outside because I didn’t want to leave the children and I didn’t want to move the whole pile outside. I had to hang up. 🙁

The boys came back and said there was a long line and they didn’t want to stand in line just to ask a question. It was about that time (I was talking with the NZ friend at that point) that Trevor spoke up and said he had some cash. I had $79. He had $172. The girls each had $25 from their grandmother to buy food on the plane, but it wasn’t needed after all. Dylan had some and Reese had some. So we thought we knew it would take $80 to take a Maxi Taxi (a minivan) because that is what it cost for the group of six when Reese had come with a group from church in 2011. I was sure it would take two taxis for all those suitcases. I wanted to get $200 Australian, so I borrowed from all the children until we had $200. Reese wrote down the loans in a little notebook he was carrying. I went to the window and asked him how much US I needed to get $200 AU. He told me $250. There was a $12 commission and $10 fee. So I motioned to the children until someone saw me and came. I borrowed more until I had $250. He told me if I exchanged for at least $400 AU I would pay no commission. I told him I didn’t think we had that much. I dragged out the $8 I had kept in the wallet and we got up to $408. I needed $450 USD to get the no commission. I asked how much it would cost when I went back through and exchanged again. If I got the higher amount, I would get a receipt to show and I would pay no commission and get a better rate than that posted on the wall. I called Karen over and asked her to look for her other $5 bill. The man spoke up and said, “How much do you have now?” I said, “$408.” He punched some keys and made the commission $6 and gave me the receipt to pay no commission going back through. I forgot to say that he was encouraging me to exchange more at the beginning because I would pay $12 commission no matter how much I exchanged, unless I went over $450. I knew I would need $50 AU for each of us when we got to PNG to buy visitor visas in a few weeks, so since I had plenty of time this morning and maybe no time going through from NZ in a few weeks, I thought it would be better to get plenty of cash now and just have that over with. So I thought I needed $160 for two taxis. I wanted so badly to get out of the noisy airport and into our room so I could call my credit card company and explain that I needed a PIN now.

With cash in wallet, we went to find the taxi area. The man told us to go to No. 14. That was a small station wagon, so I went to him and told him we needed the maxi taxi. He motioned me to one that had just pulled up. I told the man I thought I needed two and he was sure it would all fit in his van. He let down his hydraulic “ramp” and they loaded it. We got into the middle section, which had a row of three seats facing the back of the van and three facing forward. Trevor sat up front. For just a second I wondered why he got into the driver’s seat. Silly me! They drive on the other side of the road. 🙂 I told him the address and the name of Meriton Apartments. As we drove along, with our video camera going, he asked the address again. It didn’t seem to satisfy him. He was from Africa, a nice man. I kept saying “DeVries”. Finally I dug a briefcase out of the stack and found my folder of reservations. It was Defries. So I said, “deFRIES, like French Fries.” It turns out that they pronounce it “DEFFreez.” (That rhymes with “Jefffrey’s.”) Oh well, we got here. Then the bill was only $51. And when he swiped the credit card, it wanted a PIN! I said I didn’t have one and it declined. So I was glad I had cash! I gave him the 50 and the 20 and he gave me the 20 back. I said, “Wait, I have a ‘one’ here in my pocket.” He said, “That’s OK, I have another fare.” A woman had come up and asked him to take her and her party to the airport. He was happy to have more customers. 🙂 Normally he would probably drive back to the airport empty. [editor’s note: a ‘one’ is a one-dollar coin.] For anyone wondering, it took only about 8 minutes to get here and he didn’t drive particularly crazy.

I was hoping we could check in early, but there were no empty rooms. They had told me at the time of booking that we could if there was a clean one when we arrived. But it’s summer and vacationers are everywhere. We were blessed to get a room this late in the booking. They had us put our luggage on two huge, fancy trolleys which they locked into a room. We sat in the side part of the lobby and I combed the girls’ crazy, messy hair. I got directions to a grocery store and we started out for a 20-minute walk. Since our “serviced apartments” have a kitchen, we can save money because we don’t have to eat at restaurants. We walked through a couple of cute little parks. There are many eucalyptus trees planted along the streets and they smell good. We had fun looking at all the food and choosing what we wanted. Should we buy sliced cheese, or buy a sharp knife and pay half the price for the same amount of cheese? Reese and Dylan went to see how cheaply we could get a knife. Trevor and the girls went with me to the produce section. Everything was stacked neatly and the produce manager was apologizing for the messy look due to the holidays! I tried to tell him it all looked great. Several employees in the store were very friendly. We gave several tracts in the store and on the walk to and from it. Lord, please open their hearts to the Saviour and His love and His plan for mankind. We got chicken thighs, avocados, tomatoes, apples, Australian cheddar cheese, an onion, half a head of garlic, bread, butter, eggs, milk, ice cream, and frozen green vegetables (green peas, green beans, and a smattering of broccoli). The cheap veg here is green peas. We had planned to stop in one of the parks and make cheese sandwiches (hence the need for a knife), but we realized it was quite warm and the chicken and ice cream and milk wouldn’t survive. Besides, we were tired and the room was ready. We had killed 2 1/4 hours. It was in interesting walk, with lots of cranes and cars to look at.

We got into our room and had our ice cream on the balcony. We then made the sandwiches and ate. Everyone lay down to take a short nap and slept four hours! I had a hard time getting them up. I don’t have time to write all the funny things about our room, like a shower with just a partial clear wall and a drain in the floor. The kids raised their eyebrows about that. They have a lot of experiences to build up.

We cooked our chicken in butter with garlic and onion. I didn’t have salt for the meal. There are a few packets, but the boys are saving those for eggs.

I was going to attach pictures, but I have to pay for internet $5 for one hour or $18 for 24 hours, so I wanted to wait until tomorrow morning to send this. We don’t want to waste the one day we have to look around Sydney.

We have other stories of the actual flights, especially Reese talking about the Bible so loudly and clearly that those of us a row ahead and beside him could hear him. He was talking to a saved girl, but the Mormon next to him heard it all. And the Catholic missionaries on his row did. I talked to a Muslim after giving his daughter a tract. I’m so naiive, I didn’t know what they were. They had distinctive clothing on, but I don’t know enough to guess religions of people. I had to ask. Well, I won’t elaborate more right now. He was very congenial.

Goodnight. 12-27-12 11:57 pm Australia. (8 am New York)

Jamie

////

That’s then end of the email I sent Dec. 29. Now for a few pictures to go with it. (I DID fix a few grammar errors. 🙂 )

~the restaurant called “lemonade” that we had supper at in LAX~

2012_12_25 Lemonade restaurant LAX 0042012_12_25 Lemonade restaurant LAX 007~loading our 14 suitcases and as many carryons into the maxi taxi~
2012_12_26 load the maxi-taxi 001~arriving at our serviced apartments: Meriton, in Zetland~The girls were looking up at the top floor, because that is where they told us would have a room. Ours was one of the five-story blocks.~
2012_12_26 Meriton Apts 0022012_12_27 views outside Meriton Apartments 0112012_12_27 views outside Meriton Apartments 012
While we waited for our room to be ready, we shopped at Coles. There are interesting things for sale in the meat case!  2012_12_26 in Coles 0112012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 0042012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 005  (It might help to know that in the UK, sausages are called “bangers.”)

2012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 0062012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 007In UK societies, they don’t refrigerate eggs.
2012_12_26 in Coles 014~Reese using his new camera to capture memories~
2012_12_26 in Coles 0262012_12_27 items in Coles Danks Street 008Annabelle, Naomi, and Karen enjoyed hearing and seeing multiple fountains. For fun, the girls and I walked across the footpath between the bubbling fountains.
2012_12_26 walk back to Meriton apts 002It was a long walk back to our apartment on a warm day, toting our groceries.
2012_12_26 walk back to Meriton apts 009Gas (petrol) is priced by the liter (litre). Don’t you think Hungry Jack’s got their design idea from somewhere in the USA?
2012_12_26 walk back to Meriton apts 017~getting our two trolleys of luggage to our room in the building next door~
2012_12_26 get luggage to room 0062012_12_26 get luggage to room 015Ice cream tastes even better after a long walk on a hot day and it’s even MORE special to eat on a balcony! 🙂
2012_12_26 refreshing ice cream 006 The view from our balcony was not beautiful, but was new and clean. Very modern; just the opposite of quaint. The kids loved it.2012_12_27 views from Meriton Apartment balcony 005 Plenty of dishes and utensils were provided to cook a nice meal.2012_12_27 supper at Meriton 006 It was so pleasant to have a table big enough for the whole family and enough dishes to serve them all.2012_12_27 supper at Meriton 008 We never served chicken and vegetables quite like this before. It was delicious.2012_12_27 supper at Meriton 010

 

 

 

First New Zealand trip post

Jan. 6, 2013

It’s amazing to realize it has been almost two weeks since we left home. I don’t know whether to write details or give an outline coverage. I will try the outline and see if I can limit myself!

We got up at our normal morning time (about 7 am) and put the last items in our suitcases. This was really good because we stayed up late packing and weighing. I gave up trying to check in online the night before. We had tried to check in before leaving for the Cammilleris’ party, but no go. So I tried once more when we got home and decided my lack of success meant it was meant to happen at the airport.

We loaded the van and drove to the Daires’, where we picked up some of their family and the rest drove behind us in their car. They are taking care of our van while we are gone, making sure it doesn’t sit and get problems from sitting. At the airport, I tried to tell the lady that I wanted the discount on luggage charges because in good faith I tried to check in online the day before. She had trouble with getting the discount for me, but I just stood there, with Charlie Barkowski’s calm encouragement and finally she said I got it. This was important to me to try because we took 14 suitcases, including schoolbooks for the missionaries we are visiting. So every dollar I could save on that was a big help. I have to pay anew for all our luggage every time we check in with a different itinerary. We have six different itineraries, if I remember correctly.

After the long wait, we wolfed down the sandwiches that Charlie brought and had prayer together. Then we checked in. I was so pleased that they didn’t ask us to go through the X-ray machine. Each girl paired with a brother to go through security and I followed to pick up on any problems from the rear. No problems. We went to the gate they told us and no one was there. The number was right, but I had the boys split up and check other gates. One behind the wall of ours was the right one and everyone else on our flight had already boarded. So we go our seats and took off for Minneapolis.

This was not the first flight for any of the Parfitt children. But it was the first that Karen remembered. And Naomi probably didn’t remember much of her last one (she was almost three at the time). I don’t even remember anything from that trip to Minneapolis, except that I was happily surprised that they gave us some snacks (drink and small bags of pretzels). We found our next gate after a good-sized hike past lots of food places. I wanted Chinese and had seen Wok N Roll. But there was none near us and really no time to go back and get food, not even if we left some little ones and two of us went back to the nearest. Nana (Ken’s mom) had come the day before and given all the kids some cracker-and-cheese snacks and some other snacks. So they had a little of those. We refilled the empty water bottles we brought with us and we were set for the flight to LA. I think that is where I instituted looking at our seat assignments and lining us up so we went in with the farthest-back person first to eliminate having to squeeze past each other to get to our seats and put our things overhead. It got a little messy because we were carrying things for each other and they could not seat us all together.

Jan. 14, 2013 (NZ, 9:12 pm)

I was greatly disturbed by the movies playing all around me. I knew the kids would have as hard a time as (or harder than) I was, to not watch the movies. The cartoons were just as bad. I wish they would have a section of the plane for people who want to limit what their children can see. You can see several screens from your seat. We landed in the dark and found that our gate was very close to where we got off the second plane. I was ready to stop at the first Chinese restaurant, but there weren’t any! We found our gate and thought a minute. I decided we had enough time if we marched back through the terminal. But the terminal seemed tiny and there was a door to the outside. A lady working nearby confirmed that we would have to leave that terminal to find Chinese food! So we went back. We had passed a place that sounded Oriental in name. We went back there (almost to our gate) only to find that they had closed the grill and we could only get sandwiches from a cooler. Humph. We went back to the place we had passed three times now: “Lemonade.” What a strange place! I wish I had space to describe it. We all got trays and stared at the strange-sounding “authentic California cuisine,” wondering if it tasted good. I picked a couple of things and then said I would just have some chicken. I was getting “half-servings” from a sort of food bar. I was told, “Oh, that’s from a different section.” Different section! What does that mean? So I picked one more thing and moved on. Oh, here was soup. Oh, macaroni and cheese (sort of). THERE are the prices, on the wall at the end of all the food we have been choosing! I paid for the girls and myself and then let the boys fend for themselves. It was pretty stupid to not ask about prices first. Oh, well, we ate and tried not to watch the Grinch thing on the wall.

We went back to the gate and put ourselves into order to board. I had chosen seats online and put us all behind each other, down the middle of the plane. That plane seating pattern was three, three, three. I sat in front, Karen behind me, Naomi behind her, and Dylan in the rear. Karen got to move to the aisle. Annabelle was across from me in the first set of three seats, Reese was behind her, and Trevor was behind her. Reese proceeded to witness to the young lady next to him for a long time, and we all heard him, so several people got a dose of Bible that flight. Again we fought with the moving pictures we could see on all sides. The main problem was an excess of violence. Lots of killing and explosions. Lots of immorality. Lots. The young ladies between Annabelle and me knew each other and talked a lot at first about people they knew. The lady on the other side slept a lot. I read Jon Jenkins’ book about temptation. It was certainly ironic that I would read some of it, watch some of something someone near me was watching, drag my eyes away, pray and ask God to help me stop watching, and go back for some of the book. I guess the Lord let me learn how hard it is for my children and the young people (and older people!) at church to resist temptation. We want to set no wicked thing before our eyes, but it was just all around, colorful, moving, interesting. 🙁

We all slept some of the time. I think I actually got more than my usual one hour of sleep. Almost exactly halfway through the fourteen hours, they fed us. We had already had supper, so I assumed this was breakfast. Turns out they fed us breakfast later, too. I had a bag of almonds I had been working on all day, trying to get them all eaten before we reached Australia. I didn’t succeed. But they let me keep the nuts. 🙂

Before I forget, I talked quite a lot with a mother on the second flight, who was flying back to Minneapolis with her two little boys. She told me the boys had gone on all of her business trips and usually her husband did, too! Wow, wouldn’t that be great for all families? And on the long flight, I ended up talking with the lady who slept a lot. Turns out she took something to help her sleep. She and her husband were originally from Germany, but lived in Michigan. I had asked about them wearing their rings on their right hands. She said that everyone in Germany did that. Interesting. We had a long friendly talk. She even got out her camera and showed me pictures of pretzels she had made and arranged to look like a bouquet for a friend’s party. She has a business of making pretzels. But she just wouldn’t take a tract. 🙁 I think I talked to the Muslim as we were exiting the first plane (from Rochester). I am still so green that I had to ask him (after several minutes of conversation) what he believed. He sounded slightly surprised that I didn’t know. He had allowed me to give his daughter a tract! Divine appointments? Certainly, though nothing spectacular. Just kindergarten in sharing faith during travel. 🙂

We were the last ones off the plane, as I like to let others past while we make sure we have all the cameras, laptops (we took two extra-wide laptops and a netbook, and boy have we used them a LOT.), story books, Bibles, purses, and other carry-on things. I decided that rolling carryons are much better than backpacks. I am going to keep my eyes open for them on craigslist. The Snyders found some here on their local “trade me” and gave Karen one. She was using a backpack that started ripping near the zipper and is getting worse all the time.

So much for an outline! This is actually now THREE weeks since we left (it is Monday night here in New Zealand). I haven’t actually gotten us into the airport at Sydney yet! Oh, well, I will now look for some pictures.

taking off from LAX, bound for Sydney, Australia

taking off from LAX, bound for Sydney, Australia

Annabelle was across from me, to my left.

Annabelle was across from me, to my left.

Karen read a lot and slept a lot. :-)

Karen read a lot and slept a lot. 🙂

Fourteen hours seems like forever! The longest we had flown before was 8 hours.

Fourteen hours seems like forever! The longest we had flown before was 8 hours.

Getting closer. Maybe we will survive all this sitting after all.

Getting closer. Maybe we will survive all this sitting after all.

We have arrived at Sydney, Australia! Hooray!

We have arrived at Sydney, Australia! Hooray!

Reese’s Attempts at Photography

These photographs (all except the faucet one) were taken between 7:00 and 7:45 this morning. Very picturesque.

Sunrays

The sun shining through the leaves–I couldn’t see it with my eyes because it was too bright, but the camera caught it.

Clothesline

The fog lifting

“Teddy Bear” didn’t mind me taking his silhouette. The Scripture magnets on the van read: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; Heb. 2:3” and “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36”

My steer “Paul” calling for food

Just too beautiful–praise the Lord!

 

Mist

As I filled the sink to wash dishes, I saw all the mist flying. It was very difficult to get the camera to catch it.

An interesting perspective of your photographer this morning–I’m about 30 feet tall!

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31

Reese

 

Herding cats

My husband often says, “It’s like herding cats” when I tell him the difficulties of getting all the children (there are 8 of them in our family) to do what they should be doing at the same time. There is a video on YouTube of herding cats that amuses us. I’d like to share the address with you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

[Looks like I started to post this Aug. 17, 2010. Hope you get a smile from it like we did.-Jamie]