Tuesday, April 10, 2018

March 10-12 - Puppy Deliver Trip

Early on the morning of the 10th, Shea, 9 pups, and I headed out to Portland. Most of the buyers for this litter live nearer to Portland than they do to us, so it made sense to meet there... or so I thought. This trip really taught Shea and I about how to work together as a team better, and to handle emergencies far from Mom and Dad's ready help. A huge thank you to a family friend who were just amazing through all of it! But I'm getting ahead of myself.
If you've ever driven through East Oregon, you will know that cell service is questionable to say the least. Heading from Kimberly to Portland, the windmill farm is always a mile marker, one of the first reliable places to contact home and let them know how we are doing. Zach answered when we called, and in a goofy conversation with Shea, he requested that we "take a picture of a windmill for him..pwease." So we took a picture of every type of windmill we saw just for him.

We arrived without issue in the park where we planned to drop pups off. One pup went off the 10th and the others would go the 11th. Both humans and dogs were desperate to stretch their legs after a 5 hour drive that we played in the park for a bit.

Shea, in a moment of mania, wanted to climb this pipe. And do you know, it was full of water!

He had more energy than he has a right to.
 So now the fun starts! The reason Shea went along is because he bought a part car on craigslist to fix up the one he already has. After we left the park we headed over the U-Haul place to pick up the car dolly. We arrived at a very run down gas station manned by two very...um...how shall I put this...unprofessional young men. They hadn't rented out a U-Haul vehicle in a while, and when we saw the dolly, chagrin set in. The lighting cable was nonexistent, the wheel guards were in bad need of something, like duct tape, lots of it. The gas station attendant told us where to go and walked off. I asked him after we hooked up if there was some sort of checking out we needed to do. And he said that not only did he not know how to check us out if needed, they didn't even have the computer facilities to do it.
So, probably foolishly, we headed out on the road. We were headed toward a part store to fix the wheel guard, and lights, when another U-Haul driver drove up next to us on the busiest highway we had been on all day. And he started yelling something at us. We were pretty freaked out as you can guess. For a while we tried not to look at him, until Shea saw that he was pointing toward the trailer. Thinking something was wrong with it, we started trying to read his lips. Or I did, Shea firmly kept his eyes on traffic, finally after he repeated it several times, I realized what he was saying. "Your trailer is stolen!" Immediately I knew what he was talking about. We found a place to pull over with him following us. It turned out that he was a manager of U-Haul, had seen the state of the trailer, and called in to see what was going on. He was super nice about it all, and sent us to a new place to swap out the trailer. We still made it to the place to pick up the car on time too. We kind of figured that this was going to be our challenge for the trip, little did we know.
Beautiful Sunrise that our Lord painted for us!

We planned on staying at a friend's house that night. They have a farm out in the country, so we could have a place for all the pups to stay. It was a 2.5-3 hour drive to their place, and we didn't get started until about 6pm (we were way over on the other side of Portland at this point picking up the car). We stopped to get supper on the way, and by the time we got to the town they live near, we were exhausted. That's when it happened. We were coming up to a sharp corner on the dirt road leading to their house. Shea forgot about the corner (as it really is no issue in the daylight) and I was pretty drowsy. By the time he saw it, it was too late. With the added weight of the car on the back and the bad breaks of the truck, we slid through the corner and totaled 3 mail boxes nailed to a post!
There is a huge bumper on the truck, so when we started coming out of the stupid shock that this caused Shea said, "Well, the front is okay at least." Ha, the cooler for the transmission had been sliced by a piece of metal...you've got it, on the bumper. Praise God, other than the damage to the cooler and the mail boxes, we were okay. The pups, in a kennel in the back, didn't even wake up.

We walked to our friend's house as we couldn't move the truck. The dad and two of his sons came down to help get us out. By then it was nearly midnight, and I had a early appointment for one of the pups, so we went to bed.

Early the next morning, while I was taking care of the pups, Shea was taking off the cooler. Our friends let us borrow their car to head to the Dalles for parts.

My hero! He has such an amazing ability!
Little GemmaPearl riding to meet her new family, through all of this, it sure was nice to have puppies to cuddle!

After the meeting, and a very fruitless search for the right part, our friend called and offered to let us use the car to deliver the rest of the pups. They truly went above and beyond the call of duty in all of this! We are so honored to have people like this to help us out!
So off the Portland again we went. The rest of the day went off well, and everyone was thrilled with their new babies. Though I was having a hard time letting them go. Shea said that all the stress may be God's way of keeping me from crying in public...I guess that could be so....

We had planned on shipping one of the pups by air on the 10th, but due to a mistake on the paperwork, it didn't work out. As bad as I felt for his new family that was waiting for him, it sure was nice to have him around all day!

We headed to the hardware store to pick up some more mailboxes, and supplies to fix them. To the car wash, to wash and vacuum our the car. It was fun for the two country bumpkins in the big city.

The pup slept through the whole car wash, I guess he was as tired as we were. 

Back to the parts store to get the parts we ordered to fix the truck we went. By this time we both were pretty much whipped out. We got back to our friend's house at about dark, and Shea, being the mechanical genius fixed the truck that night. It meant another "past midnight" day, but the truck was running, and we were ecstatic!
The morning of the 12th we were up long before light to take care of those mail boxes, and we were nearly done by the time the sun came up. After a thankful Good Bye to our friends, we headed home at last! We made it home to the loving arms of the rest of our crew at last at about 2 o' clock that afternoon.

It truly was a magnificent experience, where we had to continue to move forward even with the mistakes we made along the way. I tell you what, our God blessed Shea and I immensely through the whole trip. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

February 28 - Another Birthday Party

Janessa was invited to make a birthday cake for a little friend, by the same little friend, multiple time, nearly a year ago. We have been looking forward to this day for some time. One of the few homeschool families in the area is a beautiful family is lots of kids, and tonight we went over to celebrate the birthday of the oldest son, with a tank cake in tow...oh and our entire arsenal of nerf guns. What a wonderful, exciting evening! 

Everyone has to try and blow out the trick candles!

Grandpa Gary giving Janessa a hard time about her cake decorating skills. 

Apparently cake cutting is a spectator sport.

This fellow was enthralled with Janessa's job! 

 After cake and ice cream, the war ensued!

 Happy birthday big guy! We had a fantastic evening! God bless this coming year for you as you grow into a wonderful young man!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

February 16, 17, 18, AND 19 - Gabe's 12th birthday

Just like the 12 years past, Gabe's birthday lasted quite a few days, and was filled with adventure. Very much like Gabe himself! We were reminded yet again today about the huge blessing he is to our family! We are all so proud of our baby brother who is very quickly growing into a fabulous young man!
So we asked Gabe what he wanted to do, Bowling like last year was on the top of the list until Zach found a trampoline house in Bend. Needless to say, the entertainment agenda changed completely. We had a couple of appointments for the 17th, so very early on that morning we headed off in the mini bus to go to Bend. Nearly at the top of one of the passes the bus just died suddenly. The alternator belt broke. We moved the bus off the road and a wonderful couple headed to Bend took dad to the nearest part store. We were still quite a ways out of town so that meant a good long wait. 
It actually ended up be a fun experience! It's amazing how you can occupy the time between 8am to 2pm when there are 7 people who are bored.  

Gabe and Zach went out for a hike for a bit, I got these pictures when they were coming back. They slid down this hill several times.

On a couple of the tablets we had the same game, so we organized a double elimination tournament.

We might be losing our mind by now

Zach sure loves his little brother!

Dad, with the wonderful couple who took time out of their day to bring dad back, arrived back only to find that it was a deeper problem with the bus and it would need to be towed in. They were willing to take dad to the tow truck place, and off they went again.

Tow truck arrived and we were finally on our way again.

We had missed every appointment, but the most important one. And that was well worth the wait! Dad, Mom, and Janessa went shopping, while the boys and I bounced for an hour and a half! Can I possibly describe how hard it is to take pictures of 4 active boys in a trampoline filled room?!

Shea coming out of a front flip

In the middle of a huge tag game, these two are the best of rivals!

Dodge ball games were going on, again Zach and Shea were constant rivals.

After we were exhausted...and hungry we had dinner at one of Gabe's favorite restaurants, Sherries. 

We skipped the 18th day to give him his presents as we (as in us four older kids) had a birthday morning surprise planned for him. While we were in town we bought nearly 300 balloons, and the night of the 18th (and the morning of the 19th) Zach, Shea, and I stayed up and blew them all up. We listened to Hank the Cowdog, in hopes that laughing would keep us awake...it did.

Before moving all these balloons 2 doors down into Gabe's room Zach had to bury himself in them. If you have never been buried in balloon you ought to try it, it is really neat!

Now the most tense part of the plan went into action. Filling Gabe's room with balloons without waking him up. This was done 4-7 balloons at a time with me in the room stopping traffic when ever he stirred. And when a the most dreaded actually happened, a balloon popped, I nearly had a heart attack. Thank goodness he was tired!

All full!

Two very tired accomplices, we are ready for bed, but excited that we actually pulled it off!  
Garrett gave his present after church the morning of the 19th, that is when we finally pulled Gabe out of his new room decor (which by the way lasted until the end of March)

My present hidden at the bottom of the pile. 

We played outside for a bit, and drive around Gabe's newly fixed go-cart.
Janessa, as always, did a fantastic job on Gabe's cake! 

We ended the evening with an elaborate treasure hunt that Zach organized! 
It ended up being a wonderful weekend that we all were badly in need of! Happy birthday sweet boy! We all love you more than words can say!