Missouri Family – So many things to be thankful for!

Day 46

Saturday, November 23, 2019 – The BIG day has finally arrived! For those that know me, they know how much my family means to me. We’ve all missed family since being on the road – we were spoiled this past summer being in NY and staying on my parent’s property. for 3.5 months. Lucas has been counting down the “sleeps” until we go to Uncle Nevin’s house for at least 2 weeks! 

We prepped as much as we could the night before – to speed the departure. We were hooked up and on the road by 8:45! We had a 5-6 hour drive to Rolla, MO. The trip went smooth with only a few pit stops. While en route, I participated in a conference call with the Bride (Amanda) & Bridesmaids for the wedding that is now just 2 weeks away. Amanda has the details in order – we will just have to execute them when we get to TX! 

We arrived at my brother Nevin’s house around 2:15! So many hugs, laughter and maybe a few tears – of joy! Since it was my family’s house, I was going to be the camper backer-up-er! Unfortunately, the ground was a bit soft so in the wiggles that ensued, I made some nasty tracks. But at last the rig was parked and we could get on with our time together. 

While traveling on Interstate 44, a large sheet of what looked like metal was sent airborne by a tractor trailer. It hit the front of a car in front of us and then grazed the site of our RV. We are so thankful it wasn’t worse. Here’s to document a scratch. 

Whitney had cooked a delicious ham, I had sweet potatoes which we made into Sweet Potato Casserole and then she added Green Bean Casserole and stuffing! I think there were mashed potatoes in there too. 🙂  Needless to say, we had our pre-Thankgiving feast for dinner that night! 

We all went to bed extra happy! 

By way of introduction, Nevin is my youngest brother (just older than me) and is married to Whitney and they have 3 kids – Hayden (12), Ava (4) & Ellie (3). Lucas and Ava are 6 months apart. It’s so much fun that our children are close in age.

Day 47…

Sunday, November 24, 2019 – We had a relaxing morning and headed to the late church service with the family. Lucas went to Sunday School with his cousin, Ava. They were so excited to be together. 

After church we changed clothes and headed to Maramec Springs Park. We arrived and were granted free admission – always a win. I honestly didn’t know what to expect but this place is amazing! It’s a natural spring (5th largest in the state) and includes a fish hatchery. On average, 100 million gallons of water flows from the spring daily. We were even able to watch the fish being fed. 

The kiddos had so much fun.  Unfortunately, only one of them (Ellie) fell asleep on the way home! 

For some reason, Whitney & I thought it’d be fun to relax in the hot tub with the kiddos. It was far from relaxing but they sure had a grand time!

Day 48…

Monday, November 25, 2019 – Typically Ava goes to preschool and Ellie to daycare so I offered to keep them at the house. They had such a blast together. It’s so funny to watch Lucas and Ava interact. They both have plenty of my family’s genes in them – meaning they both like to run the show. After sorting through disagreements here and there, they did do really well together. 

After lunch, when nap time was announced, the only one who slightly resisted was Lucas. 

Matthew went for a run & cleaned out the truck. I was able to do laundry in a house versus a laundromat and hang some things on a dry rack. It felt kind of strange to be able to do laundry and relax in a house but it was so good! Also, cooking in a regular kitchen was fun. It was just good for the soul to be with family. I made a quick run to Aldi to pick up some food to add to the mix for the week. We were tag-teaming meals! In the evening we built a fire.

Day 49…

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 – Another day with the little ones playing together! Whitney worked from home so I tried to keep everyone out of the house as much as possible. We went to the local Lyon’s Club park which was massive! Again, naps for all! The chilly temps (mid 40s) and all the movement made for great naps and little complaining at bedtime. 

That evening Lucas joined his cousins at gymnastics. He had a great time and was sure he could do a hand stand afterwards and needed to demonstrate. Let’s just say – he needs a little work! 🙂 

Side note – My Dad, Eli, had ankle surgery today. He had fractured his ankle 2.5 years ago and has lived in pain ever since. The original surgeon told him it was arthritis which we knew it was not. This summer, I helped Dad find an ankle specialist who would look at his situation for possible surgery. After getting his initial surgery report and a second opinion CT Scan, it took over 2 months to get an appointment. We were assured she was the best in area. After his consolation on November 4th, his surgery was scheduled for the 26th! It was tough not to be with my parents today but we are so thankful for what appears to be a successful surgery which removed a sliver of bone about an inch long! 

Day 50…

Wednesday, November 27, 2019 – More play time! Nevin & Whitney both planned to work half a day so we could have a fun outing in the evening. Instead of Christmas gifts, we wanted to just do something fun together. We thought about driving in to St. Louis to see a Christmas Light display but the thought of driving into the city (almost 2 hours) on the heaviest traveled day of the year didn’t appeal to any of us! So we opted to go to a local roller skating rink/bounce house – The Zone.

The kids had a fantastic time! It did take a bit to convince them on the roller skating thing but once we got the “walkers”, they were all excited. Hayden has a knew injury so he opted to stay at home. The adults on the skating rink was comical – at least for Nevin and I. We don’t have much experience although we did a lot of ice skating as kids. Thankfully, there were only a few falls and none that resulted in long term injury!

After almost 2 hours of fun, we headed to dinner. Nevin & Matthew went to the house to pick up Hayden so he could join us. We enjoyed a delicious Mexican meal! 

Day 51…

Thursday, November 28, 2019 – Thanksgiving Day!! We were invited to celebrate Thanksgiving with Whitney’s family at her sister’s house about an hour away. I had met Whitney’s family on 2 previous visits to MO (their wedding and when Ava we a couple months old) but Matthew had not. They were welcoming to our family and we enjoyed a delicious meal together. I think it was the first time I had Deep Fried Turkey! Yum! 

We headed back home for a relaxing evening together. As we were going to bed around 11pm, we discovered our propane had run out. Thankfully, Nevin had an extra cylinder available that he could quickly hook up. The temps were in the 30’s and 40th all week. 

Day 52…

Friday, November 29, 2019 – We all slept in – until 8:00! It’s been awhile, maybe never, that Lucas has slept that late. We awoke in time to give Hayden hugs before he went to celebrate Thanksgiving with his father’s family – we would probably be heading west before he returned Sunday.

Nevin & Whitney were both off work. The guys had a couple things they needed to work on for the RV and a few errand to run. When they returned, the kids were down for their naps so Whitney & I headed out to do a little Black Friday shopping! How crazy can you get when you live in an RV? I did find a new pair of sneakers for myself, a kickball for Lucas (his other one get a hole in it) and hoped to find a mini tree at the Dollar Tree – but no luck! I did find couple other Christmas decorations there for our home. 

Whitney had a delicious venison stew in the crockpot when we returned.

Day 53…

Saturday, November 30, 2019 – Nevin’s birthday is tomorrow, so Whitney invited their friends, Erik & Riki (plus their kids, Olivia & Eli) and Sean, to come celebrate with us. They live about 2 hours away. Whitney arranged for a babysitter to watch all 5 kids. It was going to be an adult night out! 🙂  

Whitney & I went to a local consignment shop as I needed a few bigger long sleeved shirts for Lucas. Thankfully, I have a few plus a pair of black dress shoes (Dancing shoes as I call them). Everything was 30% off! Woo hoo! It’s the first pair of dress shoes I’ve bought the boy – they were only $4!! We then picked up a pair of boots for him at a local farm store. 

We returned, fed the kids and only 1 napped – Ellie. I quickly swept the camper as it was filthy. Our friends showed up around 12:30. Erik & Riki and family had traveled to NY this summer in their RV and we spend a week, along with Nevin’s family, camping. Sean & Nevin have been friends for a bit – maybe 19 years – and both lived in my apartment for a period of time back in 2003! So this was a reunion for all. 

All of us own RV’s of some sort and have lived in one full time at one more or another. So we gave the grand tour our RV and exchanged tid bits on camper life. Before we knew it, the babysitter showed up. 

We loaded in Nevin’s minivan and off we went. We stopped at the St. James Winery/Brewery and a couple other places before the night was over. Lots of laughter and celebrating another year of life. We retuned home to showered & sleeping kiddos. 

Day 54…

Sunday, December 1, 2019 – Pancakes for all! Around 10:00 we bid farewell to our friends. 

Matthew and I quickly packed up of our RV before football came on. We want to leave today – but don’t want to leave. So we hooked up in order to ensure we left.  Whitney baked a cake so we could celebrate Nevin’s birthday in style – and sweet Miss Ellie kept asking for it. The kids had a blast decorating!

After football and some yummy chili, we bid more farewells, shed a few tears – of sadness – and went on our way around 4:00. Our first stop was the Flying J a few miles away to empty the RV tanks. Thankfully, Nevin provided water & electric for us. Lucas & I showered in the house to ensure our grey tank wouldn’t fill up while there. 

We headed west around 4:45 with a destination of Cracker Barrel, Tulsa, OK. Lucas fell asleep within 10 minutes and slept almost 3 hours of the 5 hour trip.  We encountered a pretty bad accident with about a 30 minute delay. As always, say a prayer for those involved and thank God it wasn’t us.

We arrived at Cracker Barrel just before 10pm. I had called ahead and spoke to the manager letting them know we were coming. She assured me we were welcome and could park anywhere. 

Unfortunately, this location was next to Interstate 45 and an overpass. This may be interesting. Oh well, on to Texas in the morning!!

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