Our family started family vacation off with a bang. Before school was officially over, I had my older kids take their finals early, so we could hit the road. We had to get to Chattanooga for a 3 day series of meetings, and nothing could hold us back.
We left home on a Monday morning and drove half-way to Chattanooga. We stayed the night at a Drury Inn & Suites in Mt. Vernon, IL. The hotel was brand new and had the perfect set up for a family of our size. We got a room with two separate areas with two beds and a sofa bed. Not only was a hot breakfast included, but they also included a hot dinner!
Day 2: After eating delicious waffles, we hit the road. We had to drive through Nashville, so we made a stop to meet our newest nephew, Mason, and to visit our niece Jocelyn, and sister-in-law Elicia.
We made it to Chattanooga just in time for Christopher and Judah to get to their 9pm sound check. The meetings would start the next morning.
Day 3, 4, & 5: We had three wonderful days of ministering to Teen Challenge Chattanooga staff and students. This was our 11th and final year doing this series of meetings. The executive director, Roger Helle, will be handing over the reigns of the ministry at the end of this year, so this time was like a big final party.
This year the meetings started off strong right from the start. There didn't seem to be as big of a wall to break through with the students as there had been other years. They were ready to worship and receive right from the start. There were numerous physical and emotional healings. For a play by play of the meetings, you can check out Heartland's twitter at @heartlandankeny.
Day 6: We took off for our longest stretch of driving. We drove from Chattanooga directly to the heart of our nation's capital. We parked our van on the street right between the Lincoln memorial and the Roosevelt memorial.
I was so excited! I had been dreaming for years about taking a family trip to DC before the kids leave home. Judah will be a junior this fall, so it seemed like the right time.
My mom had warned me that visiting DC = a whole lot of walking. Boy! Was she right. We must've walked a minimum of 3 miles a day, each day we were there. Now, three miles isn't really that much, but when it's really hot and you're dragging four kids around, it feels like a whole lot. We had a lot of pop up memories from our 3 months of life in the big city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The sidewalks are definitely cleaner in D.C.
I also have been having really bad pain in my left foot from tarsal tunnel issues. I'm scheduled to have surgery to fix the problem on June 28th. I was determined not to let the pain stop me from this long planned for trip. It definitely slowed me down, but I just kept pressing forward.
Besides visiting 4 monuments, we went to:
- Smithsonian Air & Space Museum
- Smithsonian Castle
- Spy Museum
We could've gone to museums and historical buildings there every day for a month and still not have seen everything.
Day 9: Exhausted, we drove to my parents' home in Newark, OH. The area they live in is very scenic and peaceful. We spent a couple of days resting and visiting with friends.
We finally made it home on Day 11. The whole family was thrilled to get back to Iowa.
What this has to do with the Hunger Games you ask.....
Somehow I had it in my head that the closer we got to the capital, the roads, signs, and buildings would be nicer. I think I got that idea from watching the Hunger Games! The boys and I had just re-watched the movies. (We skipped a couple of the ridiculously violent scenes. I just can't bear to watch a couple parts.)
In reality, our nation's capital wasn't fancy or gaudy at all, though I did see some VERY oddly dressed people there. I did not see one bit of opulence, but I did see a whole lot of interesting historical sites.
After driving through 11 states, I learned that Iowa is a really nice place. No wonder people are moving to Ankeny in droves.
I hope that you will be able to travel somewhere this summer too. A change of scenery does something for your imagination and vision.
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