Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our Trip to the Whitsons October 2009

"Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel."
Proverbs 27:9 

On Thursday, October 16th we woke up earlier than usual.  Daddy was packing the van with the leftover goodies and the rest of us were trying to wake up and help Mama with anything that she needed.  We finally left the house about 8 A.M. but never really got onto the road until 8:30 because we had to stop for gas.   We settled into the car, fell asleep, ate breakfast, read books, played games, etc. on our 7-hour drive to the Whitsons' house.  We only stopped about 3 times altogether for potty breaks and gas so that was good (Daddy picked up some bubblegum for us at one of the stations)!  We ate lunch in the van also.  We all started getting more excited toward the last hour of the trip.  The mountains were absolutely beautiful and your ears would "pop" as you ascended and descended.   We enjoyed looking at the quaint little towns, country houses, and farms.  We were about 3 minutes away from the Whitsons when we realized we had went too far, so we turned around and then went the correct way!  We found their private driveway and sped up it until we were at their house!!!  Abby, Michael, Madelyn, and Nigi (their dog) were in the garage when we pulled up.  We all piled out as fast as we could, hugged everybody, talked, etc.  Then we went inside.  Their house was absolutely beautiful!  It was nestled on the side of a little mountain with trees all around.  The inside of their home was just as beautiful!  They gave us the house tour, showed us where we were sleeping and then we went out and started unpacking the overstuffed van.   It was very short work with all the help we had!  Hannah, Alexis, and I (Kimber) got the downstairs with Abby and Taylor.  Mama, Daddy, Lydia, Eden, and Josiah got Michael's room.  Seth and Caleb got Abby and Taylor's room with Michael. 

After we had put our stuff in their places we talked and laughed until dinner was ready.  Chicken noodle soup was for dinner and it was absolutely wonderful!  It looked and tasted like the stores - if not better! :)  Taylor, Abby, and Michael left soon after dinner was over because they needed to practice for their concert that night.  (They were playing at a Farm Bureau meeting with their cousins)  After clean-up we drove to the Town Hall and got to hear "Joshua Generation" (the name of their band) play and sing!  They did a great job!

We could've stayed for the meeting (for a fee) but Mr. Whitson said that it was extremely boring.  So, we decided that we would enjoy being together at their home more! :) 

Then we talked some more.  Aaron and Cody (Mr. Whitson's sons) came over later, during our devotions, and so that was neat getting to see them in person.  After devotions, Taylor, Hannah, and I looked at some of their picture albums (one of my favorite things to do).   When Aaron and Cody left we went downstairs, got our pajamas on and talked.  Alexis and Abby had got all dressed up in dresses and so they wanted me to take pictures of them.  I took so many of them that I won't comment on all of them below.

(I think Lexi in the above right picture looks similar to the white witch in The Chronicles of Narnia)

Friends forever.


Lexi holding the bouquet Mrs. Whitson used for her wedding.

During the photo session Madelyn came downstairs eating a banana...

We (the girls) then started getting into bed and settling down for the night.  Hannah and I were in a bed, Lexi on the couch, and Abby and Taylor were on an air mattress.  We fell asleep to Abby's hilarious stories about herself, commercials she had seen, and just life in general! :)  I know Taylor must've said "goodnight girls" at least 7 times! :)  We then fell asleep around 12 A.M.  (Our average time for falling asleep was probably about 12 A.M. every night we were there)

It was really cold Friday morning but we went on a walk down their driveway anyways.  The parents and Lydia stayed inside to make breakfast.

 Walking back up the hill.

Daddy and Mr. Whitson talking as they make some eggs.

Mrs. Whitson making a spinach-fruit slushie.  (If anyone thinks that spinach and fruit sounds bad together, you're mistaken...this was really good!  We now have those slushies during the week.)

Hannah and Abby playing the piano together.

We spent a little bit of time singing around the piano but we talked for a good portion of the time! 

After we ate the outstanding breakfast we cleaned up and played around their house until about 12 P.M.

Daddy and Mr. Whitson talking.

After breakfast practically every morning you would find Daddy and Mr. Whitson at the kitchen table talking together. 

After getting packed up for our picnic at Crabtree Falls we piled into our van and drove to the hiking trail (about 45 minutes away).   In the bus, we sang hymns together while the adults talked.   We drove on the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway for part of the ride.  The trees were an absolutely brilliant display of yellow (predominantely), green, orange, and a few reds here and there.

We arrived at the parking area and took a potty break before heading to the trail.  It was still freezing cold (low 50's was the temperature for most of the week) so we all had on mittens, hats, sweatshirts, heavy coats, socks, leggings and more!  

The Crabtree Falls that we went to was different than one that we had been to in Virginia.  It was a lot prettier and the hike was much easier even though they rated it a "strenuous," 2 mile loop.

 Lydia on the trail.

 Mrs. Whitson

She had the blanket over her ears because it was so cold out that it made them hurt!


 On the trail!

Abby and Lexi being silly!aka----normal

Everyone but myself.

The steps in the above picture were very steep and skinny!  There were a few skinny parts but for the most part the trail was easy to traverse.

About 1/2 way through the hike you could hear a soft murmuring and then as you drew closer it got louder.  There was a few really wet and muddy spots before the waterfall but eventually we reached it...

...this was what met our eyes!

I never could get tired of waterfalls - they are absolutely majestic!
(I was thankful to have the tripod with me)

 This is another view from a picture Lexi took at the bottom of the larger part of the waterfall.

The below picture gives you an idea of how big it really was!

Isn't it amazing!

If it had been summertime we would've been in the water but it was way too cold for that!  (Just another excuse to come back ;)

Daddy at the bottom of the bigger waterfall.  (Another picture from Lexi!)

After Daddy helped me with the camera positioning and such (thanks, Daddy!) he went to look for some crawdads in the water.  I don't think he found any - probably too cold!

Lexi and Abby

 If you go back to the first picture of the waterfall you will see where the tree in the above picture is.  They climbed across the rocks to it and posed for a picture! :)

After I had gotten my fill of pictures I let Hannah keep watch over it for me so I could go climb too!

Myself, Abby, Daddy, Alexis, and Abby

I made it over to the tree also.  The rocks were slippery in some places but thankfully the Lord protected us from any falls.  Daddy helped us back across but I got wet when I stepped in the water instead of the rock! :-D

We probably played there for around 30 minutes before a few more groups of hikers showed up.  We didn't want to be in their way so we left and went back up the trail. 

Taylor and lydia.

Yes, Lydia is crying for Mommy! :)

Abby, Alexis, and Caleb on a rock that they found along the trail.

Daddy and Mr. Whitson carrying the youngest members of the family.

Josiah (and Eden) did a great job hiking with very little whining but they got tired out going back up so Mama and Daddy carried Josiah and Lydia alternately.

Madelyn shaking a tree (she liked watching the leaves fall down).

Lydia is behind Daddy's back in the Ergo.

We finished our hike (I took off my coat as we climbed back up because it got hot after a while) and decided to go to another picnic spot nearby for lunch.

These were some of the flowers at the lunch site.

For lunch we had snackies: a sandwich, veggies, chips, and cookies!

Madelyn and Lydia.
Madelyn loved following "baby" around and they played well together most of the time!

The sun did come out for us but it was still really cold!

After lunch we all appreciated the heat in the van as we drove home.   Daddy stopped at a few overlooks for me to take pictures.  Sometimes I really didn't want to get out because I was warm, settled in, etc. but Daddy was always good at getting me moving! 

One of the overlooks.

Another overlook.

After we had stopped at a couple of overlooks we drove to Mt. Mitchell "the highest peak east of the rockies," being over a mile high.  We drove up near the top and then some of us climbed the path up to the top.

It was so cold that Daddy wrapped some of us up in blankets!  I think it was about 30-something degrees at the top!

This is all of the children who climbed the rest of the mountain!  You can't see us because the fog was so thick that the camera couldn't find us! :) 

We were glad to get back down the mountain where it was a little bit warmer and then finally into the van where we slowly thawed out.

We had hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner once we got home.  The hot dogs were cooked over an open fire that they started when we got to their house.  Most of the kids (me included) ate outside by the crackling fire.  It was so warm and cozy (though a bit hot at times)!  For dessert we had smores (or bits and pieces) and a delicious ice cream shake!!  (We were always overfed! :)  We drank the milkshake while watching the Duggars.  I hope we got the recipe for the ice cream shake because it was really good! :)

Saturday morning was the same routine.  Breakfast (which consisted of eggs and some wonderful sticky buns), clean up, talking, etc.  Around 12 o' clock we decided to go shooting and fishing.  It was still really cold out but we had fun!  We (Caleb, Hannah, Taylor, Michael, Seth, Daddy, Mr. Whitson and I) went to one of the Whitsons relatives properties and shot some skeet.  We shot (in order from first to last) a 22 rifle, 20 gage shotgun,  and an AR-Nova 9 mm for those of you who know about all that gun stuff! :)  I thought it was a lot of fun!  The AR-Nova was pretty heavy and VERY loud but I liked it a whole lot better than the shotgun!  I didn't hit a single skeet with the shotgun (I had been hitting the skeet fairly regularly with the rifle and AR-Nova) due to my dislike of the recoil! :)  [I did have a bruise on my arm later, for your knowledge]  I had always wanted Daddy to teach me to shoot (he has a few guns of his own :) but he hadn't got to it yet, so I really enjoyed my first time shooting!  (Though I have shot a BB gun before at the Lockwoods)
Enough rambling on the shooting...

We went and fished a little bit but it was so cold that the Hannah, Taylor, and I went back to the heated van! :)  The guys stayed out and got rained and sleeted on for a little bit.  Then we drove to another lake (of another Whitson relative) and fished some there.  Caleb got 2 fish and Taylor caught 1!

After we were done fishing we again thawed on the drive home.  It was dinner time when we got back.  We had chicken with mashed potatoes, greenbeans and Ms. Schubert's dinner rolls (they are so good!).  As usual dinner was superb!

After dinner Mr. Whitson and Madelyn performed for us.  It went as the following:  Madelyn would blow a whistle and Mr. Whitson would dance in the style of a jack-in-a-box.

Mr. Whitson

Madelyn laughing before blowing the whistle.

They finally stopped after Mr. Whitson had performed for us for a few minutes! :)

We then settled in for devotions.

Taylor and Caleb did the acoompaniment for us.

We read from Joshua about the memorials that are in the land. I learned that we're supposed to remember the things the Lord has done for us (which is a lot!). We also shared a little bit about the memorials in our own lives.

After devotions were over we decided to have bean and spinach-artichoke dip while watching some more of the Duggars!  As it was cooking in the oven, Taylor, Hannah, and I read Esther in front of their crackling fireplace.  (Remember that when the Whitsons were at our house we had read through the book of Daniel...we picked Esther for this trip)

When the bean dip was ready we all heaped some chips and dip on our plates and snuggled on the couches and chairs as we watched the Duggars' (Josh and Anna's wedding).  We also had a slice of lemon-balm pound cake that we had brought after we were done.

The entire week we were always well-fed and our bellies were full will some of the best food I've ever had.  They made more than we could eat sometimes!   We definitely did not starve! :)

We tried to stay up late in bed that night because it was our last night together but we had to get up early for church so we weren't allowed to talk. 

Sunday morning Mr. Whitson made some really, really good oatmeal for us.  He was shocked that we liked it because for some reason it didn't turn out like it normally did (and I still think that he's convinced we were just trying to be nice) but it was the best oatmeal in the world!  It tasted like it was from the store!  Our oatmeal normally had very little flavor and was just kinda' bland...nothing real exciting.  But this was GOOD! 

Anyways, enough about the food.  We prepared for church after clean-up and were out of the door on time.  It was about a 30 minute drive to their church which is normal with us because that's how long it takes to get to our church! :)

Their church started out with a little sermon from a pastor, sharing time, Sunday school, and then the singing and sermon.   It was definitely different from our church but we liked it!  All the families were together and they sang in the front of the church together from the bottom of their hearts (you could tell they weren't doing it for mans' praise).  The sermon was on James 4 (the last few verses) on how short our life is ("it is even a vapor").  It was a very good reminder that I could die right now.  What have I given for Jesus?,  Have I spent my time wisely or did I waste it?, etc.
After church we went back to their house for  a Mexican bean soup (really good, once again!).  We had packed up before lunch so we were pretty much ready to leave after lunch.  Mr. and Mrs. Whitson let us (Taylor, Hannah, and I) eat the leftover chocolate from the smores.  We tried to sneak it to a quiet place where we could eat it alone but then we decided to save some for everyone.  (It was exciting trying to eat it somewhere secret, though! :) We crept on our hands and knees, peeked around corners, etc.)

We were really trying to prolong our "ship-off" time to as late as possible so we did try and avoid Mama and Daddy!  (I know they didn't want to leave either!)

But the time to leave came and after a group picture we gave hugs and said goodbye to everyone.  That was probably the worst part of the entire trip.  Then we drove down the driveway and they were out of sight. :( 

Thus ended our wonderful, God-filled time at the Whitsons!  From the moment we got there to the moment we left we felt as if we were at home and among the best of friends!  It's so wonderful to have friends that are like-minded on so many biblical principals.  That's why this time was so refeshing and fun!  The Lord is so good!

Lydia on the way home.

We stopped at Pizza Hut for dinner. It was delicious!!! We had cheese crust pizzas, breadsticks, and sodas! :)

We got home Sunday night at around 10-11 PM and we all got into bed as soon as we could after a wonderful weekend!

All for Jesus,


1 comment:

  1. Glad you all had fun.

    It's actually a Pellet gun ;).