Fort Boonesborough, Kentucky

On our way home, we met up with my in-laws to visit Fort Boonesborough, Kentucky. This state park is a replica of Daniel Boone’s fort which he built in the late 18th century. The Bashams had promised the kids that they would take them here about seven years ago, and one thing or another always seemed to prevente the trip. Everyone was excited when it finally happened! 🙂
It rained off and on the whole time we were there, so I didn’t get out my Nikon until the end. Most of the photos are from my phone.


These ladies are demonstrating how a loom worked in the 1790s.

Laci playing a game from the time.

Grandma and Granddad having a good time.

Mitchell with the giant bear rug!

One man made powder horns. They were very expensive!

The cobbler had some very interesting information about making shoes in the 1780s and 90s.
Matthew enjoyed wearing a coonskin cap and using a flint-lock pistol in the gift shop. Granddad and dad made it possible for him to take them home. 🙂

“Stick ’em up!” (Sorry it’s blurry!)

The whole group…minus me. Not sure why Matt is sad. 
As soon as we met up with Terry’s parents at the hotel, we pulled out the birthday gift we’d hauled with us over two thousand miles. We couldn’t wait to give it to her! In May, when we visited Terry’s brother Joel and his family, we set up the tripod for my Nikon and took a photo of our families together. We had it framed at Hobby Lobby and presented it to her in Kentucky. She loved it. And we loved that she loved it. It’s a great feeling doing something special for someone you love. The Lord blessed and the photo turned out really well, considering we had 8 children to pose! 🙂 

 Grandma with Leslie and Laci

 She loved the gift. 🙂 We were all so happy.

Here’s the photo we gave her. It was a surprise, so I couldn’t post it until now. 🙂

 Mother and son.

Right before we left the fort, I got a group photo with my Nikon.
I loved these purple wildflowers blooming at the Fort!
It was a great visit with our loved ones. I have just one complaint: it was too short. 
All in all, we traveled 3,265 miles. We could have driven from Norfolk, Virginia, to Los Angeles, California, (coast to coast) in fewer miles than we traveled on this trip! The Oklahoma border sign never looked as sweet as it did when we got back on July 4, 2013 – we all let out a cheer! 🙂
We are so thankful for the Lord’s protection and blessing on our journey. Thank you for praying for us.

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Mount Vernon

After camp, we headed even farther East to visit with some friends, the Dunham family, in Woodstock, Virginia. We weren’t really sure what all we would do while in Virginia, other than visit our friends. It turns out that we had the chance for a little sight seeing! We had time for a trip to Mount Vernon, Washington’s home! I was more excited about it than most of the kids, but that’s understandable. They are young and were worn out from 30 hours in the van. Still, I hope that one day, they will look back on it with fondness. Terry and I are lovers of history. We have a personal goal of visiting as many presidential homes as we can. We have visited Eisenhower’s, Truman’s, Jefferson’s, LBJ’s, Clinton’s and now Washington’s. It was hot and humid the day with traveled to Mount Vernon, and we all were pretty tired from our week at camp. Because of that, the photos were snapped in a hurry and some of them are not the greatest quality.

A view of Mount Vernon from the bowling green.

Matt is playing with George Washington’s step-granddaughter in the entry to the park.

Me, Lauren and George and Martha! 🙂
George and Martha Washington’s tombs.

Waiting in the shade of centuries-old trees for our ticket time to be called. 

Part of the garden.

I couldn’t snap photos inside the house, but I could outside. While on the tour, we walked along the back porch of the house, where our first president could enjoy this lovely view of the Potomac.

It was gorgeous!

We had to take photos in front of the house in stages. Here are a few of us.

Lauren and Mitch at Mount Vernon.

Me and my sweetie!

After we toured the house, we got to go through a wonderful museum all about Washington. They had life size wax creations of Washington at ages 19, 45 and 56. They measured his clothing from the Smithsonian and used hair samples from his home (!), as well as high-tech computer models to get accurate portrayals of how he looked. Here is what his inauguration looked like.
I was unable to photograph it, but they had Washington’s false teeth on display! I remember my dad reading to me from a big, red book about the presidents when I was about eight years old. The thing that started me on my life-long fascination with the presidents, was the photo in that book of Washington’s false teeth! It was interesting to get to see it in real life. The kids were more interested in a video playing about how they made false teeth in the 18th century. 🙂

Mitch got to take the oath of office of the President!

This photo was in that big, red book of Presidents.

Here we are in front of the statue at the museum.

My favorite feature of the house was seeing Washington’s chair! It was the chair he used at Mount Vernon and in his office as President. Can you imagine the conversations and decisions that took place in that chair? I only wish the tour hadn’t been so rushed so I could have savored it all longer.

It was a blessing to be able to visit such a great historical site, and to get to do it with the kids. I love history, not just for what it can teach us about the past, but also for how it can enlighten us about the future.

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Summer Camp

The reason we got to take this amazing trip, was so my husband could preach at a Junior High Camp in West Virginia. It just so happened that two of our kids were the ages to be campers that week. And it just so happened that my son was praying for a chance to go to summer camp! He wasn’t old enough to go to the camp Lauren went to last year, so I just told him to pray about it – with very little faith that God would answer. After all, a trip to camp isn’t a “need”, so my faith was weak. Weak, but not non-existent. It’s amazing how God blesses even my microscopic faith! God answered and gave Mitchell the chance he’d been longing for.

I was busy caring for our three younger kids most of the week, so I didn’t get many photos of the campers. They had a great time, though. Mitchell was on the orange team, while Lauren was blue. They memorized dozens of verses, swam, played games and ate the wonderful food prepared by the ladies of Faith Way Baptist Church. Of course, the preaching was amazing. 🙂 Each night, there was a bonfire outside which was also a testimony time. If a camper wanted to share what God was doing in their lives through camp, they were free to do that. There were several sweet testimonies given during the week.

Mitchell in line for the “human bowling” game. I never got a photo of him actually hitting the pins. 😦

Lauren, knocking the pins down in “human bowling”. It was a fun and exciting game!

The bonfire.

Bro. Downing Gregory, the pastor of Faith Way Baptist Church in Belington, WV, and leader of Camp Popeye.

The whole group on the final day. It was sad for the kids to say goodbye to the friends they spent all week with. It reminded me of how I used to feel at the end of camp when I was a teen. I would have to say goodbye to friends like Amanda Tyler. It was never easy.

Lauren, and her team leader, Todd Hall.

Mitchell, and his team leader, Pastor Scott Hall.

Terry signing a Bible on the final day. 

 This is Terry and  Bro. Dan Vaughan. He and his wife, Hollie, are sweet people.
(And he is hilarious!)
While we were at camp, Laci lost one of her front teeth!

Then she lost the other one! 
We had a great time that week, but our adventures weren’t over yet! I hope to share more soon. 
Thanks for reading, and for all the great comments. I sure love hearing from all of you!

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St. Louis

On our way to West Virginia, we went through St. Louis. We were in a hurry, but we managed to stop for about an hour and snap some photos around the Gateway Arch. Terry and I came here together for a “belated honeymoon” trip over 15 years ago. It was nice to come back and this time, bring our five precious children. They were able to run off some energy on the multitude of steps that go up to the Arch. (We had been in the van for about nine hours by the time we reached St. Louis, and were only halfway to WV!)

I missed getting Matthew! Oops…

You can barely see Matthew on the end. He didn’t understand what he was supposed to do. 🙂

My little stair-steps. 🙂

Laci, in front of the mighty Mississippi.

Everyone at dusk.

Lauren beneath the Arch.
We all had a great time in St. Lou-ie. 🙂

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Almost Home

We are just a few hours from home now and I am so excited! It has been two weeks since we left – I sure hope the house is still standing! 😉 We have had a great time visiting with friends and family and soaking up some history. We were able to visit Mount Vernon, Virginia, and Fort Boonesborough, Kentucky. I will have a more complete report on our trip when we get home, but I wanted to share a few photos and let you all know that God has granted us traveling mercies thus far. We have had several bouts with minor illnesses on our trip, but everyone has made it without a visit to a doctor or ER! 😊

Me and my sweetie – AKA “partner in history travels” – at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. 

Storm clouds in Kentucky. 

With the grandparents at Fort Boonesborough. 

Traveling back in time to the 18th century. 

Have you seen Matthew?

I will share more photos soon. Thank you for praying for me and my family. We have tried to be careful, but safety is of the Lord. I thank Him for His mercy!

Alive and Well

I’m sorry to have been AWOL lately. I didn’t stop to think I might not have cell service in West Virginia. We had to go to the top of a mountain just to check our email. 

It was a great week at jr. high camp. Several kids made decisions to serve the Lord and read 10 verses a day in their Bibles. 

My favorite preacher!

I got to see my good friend, Sara, and made some new friends, too!

On the final day of camp, they took a group photo. It was a wonderful week!

We are now in Virginia, visiting our friends, the Dunhams, and seeing some sights. 
I hope to write again soon! Thank you for your prayers. 
– Valerie & crew 

Cruisin’ In Kentucky

Hello, friends! I’m trying to post from my phone for the first time! I hope you all are doing well. We are doing great, praise The Lord. So far, our trip has gone smoothly. We even got to make a surprise visit to see my friend, Dixie, in Missouri. We made a quick stop at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, too. We are I  Louisville, KY, right now and very eager to get to West Virginia. I had forgotten just how far away it was! 
Here are some photos of our journey so far: 

Starting out yesterday. 

The Arch

Oklahoma

Missouri 

Me and Dixie

Illinois

Indiana

Kentucky

Thanks for joining us in our travels! And thank you for praying for us.