The green minivan is loaded up.
Gas tank is full & windows freshly squeegeed.
Kids are strapped securely into their car seats.
Snacks & other various items are readily available for diversions.
Music is at my fingertips.
Off we go for 36 days of road-tripping across 7 states with our clan of five!
We haven't booked a single hotel...but we are feeling spontaneous.
First stop (day 1): Santa Ana!!! ....for a 15 hour whirlwind visit with our beloved friends!
The kids loved playing with buddies Lily & Samuel. Syd & Sam were fast friends. They both like goggles and shopping carts, so it was pretty simple.
On the playground there was a slight traffic jam on the slide:
The visit is never complete without a group photo!! (the dad's were so patient)
Hello's & goodbyes within such a short time are always hard! We love you SoCalDoans!!
We consoled ourselves by finding the nearest In N Out Burger. Yup - still tastes amazing!
Next stop (Day 2): San Diego!!
Justin got to share with about 100 elementary aged kids about our lives in China. They were very attentive & loved that we make ice cream! They asked great questions and learned about life on the other side of the globe. We also got to see wonderful friends in the area and connect even more. We love this place!!
That same afternoon we drove onward to Phoenix, Arizona to visit with family for 2 nights (day 3&4). Justin's grandparents are 96 & 97 years old - still loving life and full of joy! We are so thankful that we got to see them again and hear more of their memories! Grandpa was so happy to see the girls!! (Grandma was recovering from a stroke, but still so very cheery)
We also got to visit with uncle Eddie & aunt KC who were in town for Thanksgiving! Uncle Eddie put the girls to work gardening outside, while aunt KC made us a gourmet meal! The girls each earned $1.00 for pulling weeds and filling the garbage bin with debris. They were so excited/motivated to earn some money! ...and play with uncle Eddie and the branches.
We also got to visit aunt Gloreen who has been in the hospital after a major surgery and some new complications. She was so precious & sweet - even though she could barely speak. We did all the talking, praying and rubbing of her feet. It was a wonderful to see her again and just sit with her. She even had gifts waiting for the girls: games & artsy stuff! She is so thoughtful & generous. Please pray** for her - her organs are currently failing and she is battling for her life. **Updated Dec 30th, 2010 - Aunt Gloreen went home to heaven. She will be greatly missed by so many!!
Overall, the first 4 days of Road-Trip 2010 have been incredible. We are encouraged, challenged, nostalgic, brimming with love for our family, and eager to see what adventure lies ahead.