Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Iowa Weekend

We were blessed to spend the past weekend in Iowa with some of our closest friends. It was hard to be there for such a short time and try to squeeze in so many visits, but we left feeling thankful for the Lord filling our lives and our time in Iowa with such great people!  It was especially sentimental to me as we visited so many places filled with such wonderful memories!

We broke the trip up on the way down and were fortunate to spend an evening with Richard's Aunt and Uncle, Frank and Mary, who often have opened their home to our rambunctious family as we travel through.  They are such an encouragement to us and live their lives for the Lord.  Not to mention some great conversation and Mary's infamous pancakes that Jonah associates as tradition in that house. Thanks again you two for being such wonderful hosts!

Our next stop was in Cedar Rapids to spend some time with our friends Kate and Will and meet their newest family member Benjamin.  It was so fun to relax and catch up with them and watch them be parents.  Parenthood is treating them well and we look forward to watching Ben grow and hope to see more of them soon. Perhaps a vacation up North this summer is in order?

We finally got to meet Ben!  Isn't he adorable? Jonah couldn't get enough of him!  He remembers Kate being pregnant and the last time we saw them in September for a weekend in MN before Ben was born.  He is such a good baby too! 

Next, we were treated to some wonderful Iowa winter weather as we traveled down to Iowa City in a "winter storm" making the trip take an hour instead of 30 minutes.  We were anxious to get down there and made it safe and sound. (Thanks for your prayers for our journey, the boys were AMAZING and the weather was great until the last hour, so we really can't complain).

We arrived in Iowa City and thanks to a great babysitter (Colby) we were able to sneak away to Mondo's with Clint and Katy for a special dinner.  It was surreal and filled my heart with peace as we were able to enjoy some special time with these two wonderful friends at one of our favorite restaurants that just re-opened after the flood!  God's timing is so great!  After dinner the guys had a night of poker while us ladies (Katy, Chandra and I) were able to enjoy some great conversation and company.  Isaiah graciously lent his room to the boys for the night and Richard and I crashed in the living room. We were so thankful for such great hosts!

Little Isaiah is sure growing!  He is such a sweet, BUSY, little man!  He is already crawling and pulling up on things. He is going to be walking soon and he is only almost 8 months old!  Watch out Clint and Katy.  My heart leaps for joy when I think of the possibility of their family relocating to MN this spring when Clint finds out where he matches for Residency.  I am praying for MN, I mean God's will ;0)

Saturday morning Richard and I took Jonah's "bestest" friend Caleb to the Mall for a morning of fun!  We started at the Children's museum, which was free admission day (Thank you Lord) where the boys just couldn't get enough of one of their favorite places.  We had a pass to the museum when we lived in Iowa City and were there weekly if not more often.  

Jonah and Caleb playing at the Children's Museum.

Dr. Dafoe and the boys learning about their heart from Luke at the Museum.

That's my boy Elijah: Safety First!   Jonah and Caleb. 

After the museum we had to ride the carousel for old times sake.  I was thankful that Richard gets sick on the carousel and that Elijah's is still small enough that they let me on for free because I secretly enjoy the carousel as much as they do!

We were able to meet up with one of my former coworkers and great friend, Carmen and meet her fiance Joe for lunch!  What a great guy for such a wonderful lady!  They are getting married in October and I am honored to help them celebrate their special day.  I can hardly wait!  Plus it means another trip to Iowa City! Hurray! 

Will, Kate, and Ben made the trip down for lunch and the afternoon!  While the big boys went to an Iowa Basketball game, and the little boys took a nap at Clint and Katy's, the ladies got to visit once again. Later that evening we were able to help Clint celebrate his birthday and enjoy Katy's delicious cooking!  It was a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day! It felt so natural and familiar to be sharing the day with them.  We were also able to see Paul, Colby, Chandra, Luke, Bill and Ann which was an extra special treat!

The Birthday Boy and his beautiful wife.  Colby and Richard chatting away. 

Chandra and Luke reading to the boys.

We spent the next two nights at the Heartland Inn in Coralville which was special to me as that is where my family would often stay when they came down to visit us.  We were able to go to Church at Grace Sunday morning, which was another blessing. It felt as though we had never left!  We were a little disappointed that Brooks wasn't preaching, but definitely enjoyed Greg's message about Metrotheism and the danger of the church conforming to society to become more attractive.  It was encouraging and helped us remember why we loved that place!  The truth is spoken, they aren't afraid to do it, and they are such a wonderful community striving to spread the Love of Christ.  After church we snuck over to our old neighborhood and dropped in on our greatly missed neighbors the Kampmans.  It was refreshing to see them, catch up for a few minutes and watch the kids play.  We were able to join Emily, a dear friend of mine (and Richard's too) from college for lunch at Bruegger's (a favorite sunday lunch spot for the Dafoes).  We met the first week of freshman year, were inseparable that year, rowed together, Emily was a bridesmaid in our wedding, and was one of the first people to visit both boys in the hospital after their births, and is still a great friend.  I can't believe she is almost done with medical school and starting to think about what to do next.  It was a short, but sweet visit!

While the boys were napping at the hotel, Richard was able to spend some quality time visiting with Clint and Paul.  He shared with me how special this time was and I know these guys are greatly missed!  I was able to sneak away for some quality time with Katy, a trip to Java House, and another short, but sweet visit to my dear friend Lori (Caleb's mom) and meet her daughter Melanie who was born in November. 

Sunday night we were able to spend our last night in Iowa City in the company of some great friends.  We had a little pizza/pool party at the hotel and were thankful to see more of the Kampmans, Garretts, Days, Willeys, Hawthornes, Lothamers, Chan and Luke.  

It was a little cold, but so much fun!

Andrew, Steph and Violet trying to stay warm.  Andy, Josiah and Abigail enjoying the pool!

A little chicken fighting and flying children.

Audrey and Ben meet.  Audrey just chilling with Lindsey. 

More chatting fun!  I finally got a turn to hold Ben!  

After the pool party, I was baptized in the hotel pool along with Clint and Chris.  It was something I have been neglecting to do for quite some time and God was able to help me realize it was time to stop stalling and get 'er done. It was a blessing to share it with so many people who mean so much to me and have been there along the way. 

Getting Baptized in the pool! It was such a blessing to share such a special event with some great friends!

Monday morning was tough, since we didn't want to say goodbye and head home. Richard met Colby and Clint for breakfast and Katy and Isaiah joined the boys and I for a last dip in the pool.  We finally got on the road about 11:30 am and waved goodbye to our old home.  
Isaiah and Katy joined us for a quick swim Monday morning. Elijah walking out of the hotel with his backpack that was just about as big as he was!

Of course we had to stop at Java House just one more time! Iced German Chocolate Mocha with whip please. 

Our trip home was miraculous, in the sense that Jonah and Elijah were traveling rock stars and Richard and I were able to visit about our trip, dream about the future, and Praise the Lord for all the abundant blessings we experienced all weekend!  We didn't have to stop until we were west of Minneapolis, where we quickly had a potty break, stretched at a rest stop and got back on the road.  We pulled into our driveway around 10:15pm and it definitely felt good to be home.  

I know I have said it already, but God is good!  We only wish we had more time to spend as we had so many more people we wanted to see. Thank you to all our friends who sacrificed your schedules, sleep, and lives to spend the weekend with us. We are ever grateful!  We hope to see you again soon and don't forget that our door is always open, and we LOVE visitors.  


Prachar family said...

Oh, so many familiar sites! sounds like you had a great time. Sorry we hogged Brooks while you were there! Congrats on the baptism! A step of obedience that will be rewarded!

jamie said...

great to see you guys! it was fun getting together again!

Cindy and company said...

Whew! What a busy weekend, but Soooo worth it! Going back home is always so much fun!! Looks like you had a blast!