One thing I neglected to mention, and I don't know how I missed it except that it does get a little complicated to keep everyone's timeline straight! Maybe I should have done a huge spread sheet to begin with!
The year was 1996. We had a lot of changes the year that Maya was four. I believe that would mean that Ben was five, Paul was eight, Lauren was eight and a half, and Corey was 11-1/2 years old.
It was a big year of changes in our household.....our eldest daughter Leslie, who had left home two years previously to go to college in Chicago was getting married.....plus, Don went away on a business trip for ten whole days...believe me, a very long time....to Poland, and then, when he returned, a few days later we loaded up our full size van that we had , and took eldest son Ryan and a friend, out to college in Saskatchewan! Yes, it was the year of changes to be sure....looking back, I don't know how we all survived....emotionally or financially!
First, the wedding.....Leslie and James, had become engaged at the place they had met, FairHavens Bible Conference grounds the previous summer. It was their wish to get married there in an outdoor ceremony.....it was a little difficult to plan and execute....for one thing, Les and James were in Chicago...so it was a lot of long distance planning, with myself doing a lot of the leg work to acquire the materials needed for the wedding....and the wedding itself was two hours away.....that meant we had to transport everything, as best we could to pull off an outdoor wedding, in the middle of June. With the help of friends, bringing the flowers the morning of, and getting everything up there in our huge van....we did it.....and it was a lovely wedding. A few weeks later Don, went to Poland....it wasn't easy being on my own , with five young kids for the ten days...the time difference alone between here and Poland was tricky since one of us would be getting up when the other was going to bed! Communication was key to me maintaining my sanity and Don made sure he called daily.
Two days after he returned, we once again loaded up all the younger kids, plus Ryan, plus his friend James Hartwick.....and drove out to Saskatchewan....Ryan and Hartwick took over the very back of the van and by the end of the three day trip out, had made a wall of pillows and anything else they could find to block out the younger kids! Ben and Maya were in booster seats and Lauren, Paul and Corey shared a bench seat. I had purchased suitcase type plastic boxes for each child. We called them their buddy boxes....into each box went their treasures which were important to them, plus different toys, books, colouring materials....anything that I could think of to keep them occupied. They were kept under each child's seat where they could access them, and even use the box itself as a little desk for colouring or drawing. It was quite difficult keeping a balance though....the college bound men wanted their music played, the middle kids had their preferences and the youngest two were happy with Robert Munch and Fred Penner! We stayed the first night in Sault St Marie......all in one hotel room...the kids spread out on the floor with sleeping bags and pillows!
Our second night was in Thunder Bay, the third night, we pushed through, arriving in Caronport, Saskatchewan about 1:30 am! We got the guys unloaded into their dorm rooms and we collapsed in our little hotel room. We stayed for the next day and then left to travel back through the states to get home. The return trip was a little easier since I had gone to the library of the local church and borrowed many Adventure in Odyssey tapes which we all listened to and enjoyed! We went through Montana, North Dakota, stopping in Fargo for the night...then Minnesota, Wisconsin and then Illinois where we stopped in to visit with the newlyweds! Then the next day we arrived home.....a week later....a long,..... very long week. I questioned why anyone would want to go on a long road trip with kids and swore up and down that I'd never do it again!
That was certainly the year of adventures!