Sunday, September 28, 2008

After week one....

Well, we have had an amazing first week here in Lake Oswego!  
We met our next door neighbors the day we moved in with the help of their 8 and 10 year old boys that were very excited about kids moving in next door.  That was Saturday.  By Tuesday, we were attending the 8 year old's birthday party!  Yeah, on Sunday, we were shopping for birthday presents in Target.  Too funny.  It's been a great blessing getting to know the M. family.  The kids either play over at our house or at the M.s' house.  We have visited two great churches in a weeks time.  Today we visited the M.s church.  Yes, they are Christians!  God has been very gracious to us.  We found out the other neighbors on the other side of the street go to that church too.  It was a great church and I think we will visit again.
Last Sunday, we visited Rolling Hills Church.  The kids are doing Awanas there now on Thursday nights.  Greg played on Mrs. M's soccer team last night.  Indoor soccer.   He was thrilled to have the opportunity to play.   
So the kids are adjusting very well to Oregon so far.  We are currently trying to wrap up the search for our piano and violin teachers.  We have a short list of teachers who have made the "cut" thus far and we will be meeting a few more this week and hopefully be able to firm things up and get the kids going again with their music.  I am so grateful for my sweet, talented, and insightful sister-in-law, Kayla, for helping me with this painstaking process!  

Our home here is small, but comfortable and has everything we need.  Downtown LO is within walking distance which is really cool.  It is really a neat thing to learn to live with less...less stuff, less people, less familiarity....even less worldly security.  I can't say I really love that last part, but it is what it is and I know God is doing something in the midst of it all.   It's not as if we are the only one's dealing with uncertainty....but more on that later.  

This is why I put "Traveling Light" as the first song on the player this week.  It's fitting.  Enjoy.

'Til next time....

LYMYWY (love you, miss you , want you),

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Eagle has landed!

Greetings from Lake Oswego, Oregon!  We had a leisurely morning in Twin Falls (we slept in) and got on the road just before 11:00am.  We stopped for a pic along the Snake River.  We finished our Oregon Trail book just as we pulled into the Oregon Trail Restaurant!  It was like Mel's Diner from that TV show Alice (Monica, if you are reading this, that was WAY before your time ;>), only there were animal heads hanging up everywhere.  

After that we made the trek to Portland.  We got to drive along the Columbia River Gorge for much of the way.  Beautiful territory.   I was surprised though, when we first entered Oregon and for the first many miles the countryside was barren and desertous.  It reminded Greg and I of desert hill scenes from the Middle East.  It wasn't until we reached the Gorge that the topography started to change to higher, greener mountains.  

We went straight to our rental house and unloaded a bunch of stuff and then went out to eat at a Lake Oswego favorite of ours:  Five Spice and then ice cream at the Lake Oswego Ice Creamery.  We then promptly took our tired selves to Embassy Suites for our last night in a hotel.  We decided to stay at a hotel instead of the house since it's late and the house is a mess.

3,248 miles, 8 tanks of gas, 10 states, 6 days later and we are here safe and sound.  Thank you for all your prayers for our safe travels.  I will keep the blog up-to-date with all of the fascinating Liechty news that I know you will not want to miss!  So keep checking in!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yellowstone! Wyoming, Montana, Idaho...

It's really late on Thursday evening and we just pulled into Twin Falls, ID not long ago.  The kiddos are fast asleep and we are not far behind them.  
We started our day leaving Sheridan and heading west towards Yellowstone.  We went through some pretty fantastic territory on the way.  We drove through mountains of granite and dolomite.  We stopped at the Buffalo Bill Dam at the Shoshone River.  The water was low as they are irrigating at this time.  The countryside was absolutely breathtaking.  

Shortly before we reached Yellowstone, we witnessed a black bear running along a hillside.  He looked right at us and was not impressed...he took off in the other direction, but we managed to get a couple of good pics.
Once we reached Yellowstone we were all quite serious about spotting whatever wildlife we could.  We saw bison, antelope, peacock, elk, large birds of prey, sulfur springs and geysers, and of course a number of homosapians.  We saw the bison the most.  In fact a couple of times they got really close to our van and Greg was standing just feet away from one that was grazing and kept edging closer to him.  We really wanted to see a moose and grizzly, but they eluded us today.  
Once we left Yellowstone, we made the trek back northwest towards Twin Falls.  We ate in Idaho Falls on the Snake River at a microbrewery called Brownstone.  Night was falling so we didn't get to explore the area too much, but it seemed like a beautiful area from what I could tell.  After dinner, we piled back into the van and headed for our hotel in Twin Falls (about another 2.5 hours in the van).  We are beat!  The good news is we only have 6-7 hours of driving ahead of us tomorrow to get to Portland.  We hope to sleep in, kids allowing.

A few of you have asked what we do while we are driving such long distances.  Well we do school, read aloud in the Oregon Trail and also Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, look for license plates from different states (thanks for the books Mom), watch Planet Earth DVDs and the occasional movie, and do a lot of talking about all the cool stuff we are seeing.  We are having a great time and the kids have not complained ONCE about being in the car for so long.  They are real troopers!  

I was struck today by what a blessed woman I am to get to spend this precious time with my husband and children.  It's truly an experience I will forever treasure.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Part II: Mount Rushmore

So then from the Badlands we went on to Mount Rushmore (not far from Rapid City, SD).  South Dakota pretty much smells like manure...everywhere that's what it smells like.  So if you like that kind of thing (and I generally do),  then you would probably think SD is a pretty cool place.  Anyway, about Mount Rushmore;  Sarah Grace and I agreed that it was our favorite excursion of the day.  It's really pretty amazing that this guy designed and sculpted (with the help of some 300 other people) this memorial out of a mountainside.   The memorial is a very nice, classy place to visit.  The weather was beautiful.  I understand they have a light show at night.  We ate lunch, took some pictures and left.  We still have lots of ground to cover after all.

Pop Quiz:  Can you name all four presidents in the Mount Rushmore memorial?  (I know, but I'm not telling!)

To be continued in part III.... 

Part I: The Badlands

We left Mitchell, SD and headed west to the Badlands National Park.  Cool place.  On the way we saw antelope and prairie dogs and lots of rolling hills and more farmland than I can talk about.  We didn't see the buffalo, but they are there somewhere.  
The Badlands are a very quiet place.  Quiet, hot and rocky.  We munched on buffalo jerky and sipped our waters while we hiked around a bit.  Not too much time was spent in any one place today, because we had so many excursions (Mt. Rushmore and Devil's Tower will be parts II and III).  

To be continued in Part II....

Part III: Devil's Tower

So after Mount Rushmore we drove some more (and more, and more ;>) to Devil's Tower in the great state of Wyoming.  Now this is a really keen place (as my Dad would say).  Historically, it is the first national monument!  Now I always thought that monuments were man-made kinds of things....but that is what the signs said..."first national monument", so I, uh,....was wrong!

Many people visit Devil's Tower every year.  Native Americans believe it to be sacred ground (I'm sure not every native American believes this, but I'm just quoting from the signs again).  I must say, it is a sight to see.  We hiked around the whole thing, which only took about 45 minutes.  We were a little scared we might get eaten by a bear since we were hiking around dusk....but no bears did we see.  We did see chipmunks and deer.  Anyway the possibility of bears combined with the long stretch of road before us encouraged us to get on and not linger too long at the Tower.  We chased daylight as long as we could and then drove with extreme caution into the night until we got to Sheridan, Wyoming.  The deer/antelope (couldn't always tell) were congregating at the roadsides and we really didn't want to hit one of the precious things.  
We ate at Los Agaves restaurant (thanks Kayla for the great recommendation!).  Well Greg and I ate while our two tuckered out little ones slept beside us in the booth.  Poor things were too exhausted to even eat!  Anyone who knows my kids, knows they must have been really tired.

Kind of like I am right now.  So signing off until tomorrow night!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hello Mitchell, South Dakota!!!

Giving a shout out to our peeps from Mitchell, South Dakota....home of the world's only Corn Palace!  For real now, I bet you didn't know that!

We started our day by exploring the quaint little Illinois town of Galena.  While in Galena we ran into some friendly biker dudes that Samuel waved down (to let them know how much he liked their bikes).  They insisted the kids get on one of the bikes for a pic.  We then make the trek over the Mississippi River.  This may have been the highlight of the kids' day.  We all dipped our toes in the river.  Greg and I schooled the kids on the importance of the Mississippi and its many ports.  Despite our being away from home, there is quite a bit of schooling going on!   From there we went on to Mason City, Iowa, where we visited my Uncle Bob and Aunt Vernice and my cousin Kris.  It was great meeting with them in their home for a quick catch up.  
We had a beautiful day of traveling through much of America's farmland.  Lot's of crops and windmill farms, rolling hills and trucks.  We have such a beautiful and diverse country!
Today was mostly a day of heavy driving.  Lots of bugs on the windshield....yuck!  Greg had to take the van to a car wash.  It was pretty gross.  We ate at a restaurant near our hotel and the kids chose to skip dessert so that they would have enough time to go down the water slide at our hotel before it closed for the night.

Tomorrow we will head out to Mount Rushmore and Devil's Tower.  We should end up in Sheridan, Wyoming, Lord willing.

I have included some pics from our day to give you a taste of it all.


Monday, September 15, 2008

A great day

Hey, I just learned if you click on a pic, it will enlarge!  Who knew?!

We had a great time spending the day with my brother and sister, Bruce and  Kim.   Bruce's wife, Ann,  had to work and  their kids, Bruce and Cosette,   had school, but we caught up with them and (Kim's husband) Tim for dinner.

Kim took us to the Discovery Center after we had lunch at Egg Harbor Cafe.   That place was fun, at one point we all put our faces in this push-pin thingy (see pic), see if you can guess who's who.    We then returned to Bruce's house and while Bruce prepared dinner I helped Cosette with her homework and then Cosette allowed Sarah Grace to doll her up with blue eye shadow and bright red lipstick.   What a sport you are Cosette!  Bruce Jr. has quite a fan in Samuel and he was pretty much glued to his hip as soon as Bruce got home from football practice.  We all enjoyed watching some footage of our favorite Boylan Titan football player make a great interception last week.  I so wish I could watch one of my nephew's games in person!

Anyway, I promised the Eshelman's we would leave before Prison Break came on at 8:00pm  ;).
So we drove 2 hours west to Galena and are staying at a cool inn called the Irish Cottage.  The kids pretty much crashed as soon as we got here, and I think I will follow suit now.  

Feel free to call us on our phones, we love catching up during the long hours of driving!
Hope you enjoy the pics, we had fun making them.  For fun, I added a pic of the house I lived at until I was nine.


From Knoxville to Rockford

Well we logged about 650 miles yesterday.  We left Knoxville in the morning and made it to Champaign, IL for the evening meal which we shared with my sister Karman and her husband Bryan and all the kids:   Eric, Kelsey, Cole and Emma.  Everyone looked great and we are so proud of the kids.  It was way too short of a visit, but it was great seeing them.   We rolled into my brother's house in Rockford at 9:30PM.  We all pretty much crashed and are looking forward to spending the day today with Bruce and my sister Kim who were both able to take the day off.  

We have plans to leave tonight and move on to Galena, IL.  where we will stay the night and then do a bit of exploring in  the hometown of Ulysses S. Grant.  From there we are trying to work out a trip to Mason City, Iowa to see some family before moving on to Sioux Falls, Idaho.

In case all of this is not interesting enough, please note that yesterday Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch.   This is of particular interest to us as Merrill Lynch owns 49%  of BlackRock...a major competitor of Columbia Management (Greg's firm).  Black Rock is highly respected in the investment world and one has to wonder what the Bank will do with two competing investment firms.  Hmmmm.   

What an interesting development as we are driving across the country to a strange place all because of a job with a firm that now now looks to be in a precarious position.  Interesting indeed.  
How wonderful that our trust is not in man or the things of man!

More later.


Saturday, September 13, 2008


We have been doing this a lot lately. Leaving. We went to Florida and spent some time with family and some dear friends. It was great making a few rounds in Jacksonville before heading south to Orlando where we spent a few days with Jimmy and Tobitha and the kids. We had a great time visiting and going to Sea World. Then we left.

Greg and I then flew to Portland from Jacksonville while the kids stayed with Grammy and Grandad (which included marvelously fun stuff such as the library, zoo, beach, hiking, swimming and hanging out by the river). In Portland Greg and I got our temporary housing arrangements in order and did some house hunting and some relaxing/exploring. Then we left. We flew back to Jax, picked up the kids, got in the van and left again.

We got back to Matthews on the 10th. We took the next couple of days to tie up loose ends, pack our van with everything we want to live with for the next 6+ months, and say some final 'goodbyes'. And then on September 12th,.....we left.

So these past few weeks have been great in that we are seeing people we want to see, but sad because they have been all about leaving. That has been the theme of our lives. Kinda depressing, I know. I'm not trying to be a downer, but there is a grieving going on here that I want to give some words to, some space in time.

We are now in Knoxville, TN. visiting Kay and Mark and the kids. Mom and Dad are here too. Kay and Mark have a great house! From here we will go Rockford, Il. (my birthplace) and see Bruce, Kim, Karman (hopefully) and their fams. We still have some 'goodbyes' to do (though none are final) and we still have a bit of 'leaving' ahead.

So the stage is set (it's a little somber and a bit dark) but the story is about to change. The plot will thicken and some of the questions will be answered. We will learn more about the character of the characters involved. It's sort of a 'It's Friday, but Sunday's a comin' kind of thing.

From Painting Pictures of Egypt (Sarah Groves):
I've been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacks
The future looks so hard,
And I want to go back.
But the places that used to fit me,
Cannot hold the things I've learned
Those roads were closed off to me....
When my back was turned.

LYMYWY (love you, miss you, want you),