August 1st - DEFINITELY the hottest day of the entire journey. It was sweltering. Did you remember we had no A/C in the van either? We had the cheapie plastic hand-held fans, a lot of water bottles and windows to roll down. Even still we were easily pouring sweat as we drove out of our hotel in northern Maryland and headed south to Washington D.C. Juancho desperately wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial as President Lincoln is one of his top fave historical figures! The traffic from Baltimore, MD all the way into DC was ridiculous and the only thing worse than driving with no A/C in billion degree heat is driving 10 mph in billion degree heat. We finally got downtown and Robert had a horribly familiar feeling. Yes, just then his staph infection decided to flare up. But he was a trooper and popped some meds and plodded on. We ate some Subway in the park and then walked to the White House, the Washington Monument and on over to the Lincoln Memorial. We were bummed that the Reflecting Pool was all under construction. After all the walking, WITH the dog, in the intense heat, AND Robert being sick, we were worn out!! We found a little ice cream parlor by the Lincoln Memorial and Robert, the kids and the dog all sat down to some ice cream while I hailed a taxi back to where we had parked the car. I got the car and came to pick up the rest of the family. From there we drove out of DC, thankfully getting out before rush hour got TOO crazy. We drove all the way to Newport News, VA to stay the night. We loved relaxing into the air conditioning that night!!
The girls and I at the Lincoln Memorial
(the photographer...ahem, Juancho...left out Mr. Lincoln!)
Did I mention it was ridiculously HOT that day?
(I honestly thought at least one of us or the dog might just die of heat exhaustion!!)
(Postscript: Sorry, that's the extent of the pictures here too. Did I mention I left my camera at my friend's house along our journey and she had to mail it to my brother's house in FL? And did I mention that my camera ran out of space to hold photos on it? So thusly...no mas fotos! Lo siento!!!)
August 2nd - We woke up, packed up and moved on out. It was another hot day, but we were excited that our plan for the day included the beach! We were on our way to Raleigh, NC via the Outer Banks! We got to the Outer Banks area and found a public beach. The sand was SCORCHING hot, but the waves were refreshing! We enjoyed bodysurfing for a while - though Robert and I had to trade off on PJ duty. Dogs weren’t allowed on the beach during the day, which was okay b/c the beach was way too hot for PJ anyway. But we found a nice shady spot up on a dock to hang out with PJ while the rest of the family enjoyed the waves. After a little while at the beach, we packed back up in the car to head towards Raleigh and the home of our friends who live there. Along the way we saw signs to tell us to watch out for bears and alligators. We watched, but we didn’t see any. We rolled into Holly Springs, NC (the suburb of Raleigh that our friends live in) in the early evening...and spent the evening enjoying catching up with old friends.
August 3rd-5th - We stayed in Raleigh with our friends and enjoyed two days on their pontoon boat in the local lake. Ironically, there was a nuclear power plant on the banks of the lake, so many jokes were said about watching out for two-headed fish and about not drinking too much lake water or we might grown an extra head ourselves! ;) That said, we had a wonderful time pontooning (is that a word?) swimming and spending time with our friends. I also got the blessing of meeting a friend for lunch - a young woman that I’ve known since she was 12 years old. She is now in her mid-20’s, married and working as a nurse in a birthing ward of a hospital. She was one of the first girls I met during my first year at TreeHouse back in 1998! I’m so thankful that even amidst the many changes life has brought both of us, we’ve been able to remain in touch and even got to see each other again during our time in Raleigh! Hopefully she’ll come visit me in Puerto Rico (along with the rest of ya’ll!). On the 5th we left Raleigh and made the long drive to Orlando, FL...to the home of my brother Jon and his now fiancee Bailey! Little did we know along our drive that they had just gotten engaged the day before!
August 6th - 8th - We were in Orlando, FL with my brother and his wonderful fiancee. They were super hospital, letting our big crew PLUS big dog take over their 1 bedroom apt. They also, both being employees at Disneyworld, hosted us for a day at Disney. We fit in a remarkable amount of rides and attractions and meeting dozens of characters all in one day - over two parks! It helps when we have personal tour guides! We also enjoyed the pool in their development, some delicioso sno-cones, dinners out - including one with a friend Robert initially met way over in Egypt! We also got to have breakfast with some dear friends of mine from college who are now serving in ministry in FL...we love their hearts for others and for the Lord! What a special few final days in the USA!
(PS - there will be some pics at some point of Disney - I had my camera back by then. BUT, USB cord is missing...)
August 9th - we woke up SUPER early to make our way to the airport...the day of travel will have to follow in another blog post (part 3?!?).
August 10-25th - the rest of the time of the one month since we left MN has been filled with car-hunting, house hunting, connecting with local friends and ministry partners, exploring, networking, planning...AND some time at the beach (of course!). Oh, and there was a hurricane in there too.
We are so thankful for the Lord’s guidance throughout the past month. Though we have been challenged at times by things that are outside of our control, unexpected or frustrating, we have been INCREDIBLY blessed!
"Give thanks to the LORD for He is GOOD, His love endures FOREVER!"