Saturday, June 3, 2017

Texas, Alert and Snakebites

So we were able to spend a whole day in Memphis with our dear friends the Russell's.  We got to know this family when we lived in Germany....many years ago.  Their son, Kevin is 6 months older than our oldest daughter, Michaela.  They were both born in a Germany before we headed back to the States.

Getting together with them is like we were never apart....catching up with their busy lives was a sweet time.

We headed out to a music museum on the history of music in Memphis....the kids loved it but I love history and it was truly wonderful!  



We then went to Central BarBQ....yum!  Southern food at its best....pulled pork, sweet tea and all the sides!

On our return walk, we went by the Loraine hotel...made famous by the shooting of Martin Luther King.  We had studied a bit from this time in our history but decided we needed to do a unit study with the intention of coming here on our next trip.

Oh....we also went bowling!


It was an amazing day.

After separating from the Russell's, we took another swim in the hotel pool because we were pulling out early in the am to travel to the Alert Academy.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and attended an open house by Chaplin Burch.

The next morning, we met up with Jasons friend, Sean, who recently moved to Texas.  Jason didn't know he was coming and it was such a blessing for him to spend the day with him.

We headed to brunch, and then several information sessions on what is available to our boys through Alert, met up with some of the other families, chatted with some of the staff and were able to reconnect with some Alert Cadet staff.  The time flew by that afternoon.

We then went to a presentation by the Unit on skills they had learned.  It was awesome.  Our younger boys were excited and amazed.  

We then watched what we would call in the military....a review of the troops.  They marched in several formations in parade review...their precision was spot on.

We then headed into the auditorium for the actual advancement....there were speakers by their commanding officers, the men sang hymns and recited all of 1 Peter and were presented awards.  It was a beautiful program...we are so proud of our son Jason.

We know this was a challenge....not everyone stuck with it...but he did.  He has learned so many new things and we are so thankful to the Command for the time they invested in our son's life.

One of the most moving times was when they released the men to their families.  Many of them ran to their fathers...tears streaming down their faces and they clung to their dads.  It was a very emotional time for everyone.  We saw our own son do this...while they built these boys up into becoming men....they turned their hearts towards their dads....the ones who God placed in their lives to walk along side them as a mentor for life.

Jason then made the rounds and was so excited to see Sean.


This time of celebration was followed by a dinner.  It was a sweet reunion with our son where we were also able to meet the other men of Unit 57.

The evening was finished off by a night of volleyball and ultimate frisbee.  Our boys closed the place out but it was just starting for us.

Our son, Brandon forgot his watch on the field bleachers and Jason, Brandon and Ben decided to walk back together.  They were still out when we received a call.  Ben was bit by a snake and we don't know what kind.

We drove him to ER....wow, it sure was the most unique ER we've ever been in!  The waiting room looked like a living room...there were big bowls of Hershey miniature chocolates, chips and drinks around.  They took Ben right in and asked lots of questions.  The doctors watched and decided to keep him over night for observation.  Darrell and Jason headed back to the Academy and I stayed with Ben.

Despite some leg cramps and swelling, it was determined it wasn't a venomous snake but perhaps a black rat snake which are aggressive.  They sent us on our way in he morning.

We returned to the Academy, packed up and headed to breakfast with Sean's family.  We enjoyed our time getting to know them better and made some arrangements about getting together in the future.

We then hopped into the car and drove straight through to Delaware where Darrell's mom lives....it was a long trip but the kids did wonderfully!  When we arrived, everyone went swimming and we had a cook out.  We took naps that afternoon and everyone headed to bed early.

It is good to have our son back...I look forward to our time together in the coming weeks because he has decided to return to the Academy for the next phase of training which starts towards the end of June. Hoorah!

Birds and Fish

We've had some fun opportunities recently with the outdoor club at our church.

One evening recently, they brought in bird rehabilitator who worked with birds of prey.

She showed us several types of owls, crows, hawks and some hybrids.  

They were amazing...she showed us the details of these magnificent birds.

There were lots of ohhhhs and ahhhhhs.

This past Saturday, mom was at a women's retreat with these ladies for a wonderful time of teaching, relaxing and fun.

Dad took all of the kids at home plus friends of ours to the outdoor clubs annual fishing derby.  Twelve kiddos in all!

Everyone was put into teams and we then waited patiently.

Devon caught the 2nd fish and got a prize.

Jacob caught the biggest fish measuring in at 11.5 inches...how cool is that?

Everyone agreed it was great fun.

Texas

We are on our way to Texas....

Our son Jason has been at the International Alert Academy for the past 9 weeks....

He has worked hard....really hard.  He has learned a lot about himself, been immensely challenged, and has overcome a lot of obstacles.

We are on our way to pick him up but more importantly...attend his advancement.

It is quite the drive, we left at 1 am after about 1.5 hours of sleep....we are trying to put a bit of a break in it for the other kids.

Today, on our travels from New Hampshire to Virginia...we stopped at Luray Caverns.  I remember visiting this as a kid and it did not disappoint.  

It was fun to explore the caves, hear the beautiful organ playA Mighty Fortress is Our God, and visit the museums on the property.




We then headed to the hotel for a bit of swimming before bed.  It was a long day but was good to have a bit of fun along the way.