Monday, September 3, 2012

Our dream trip to Alaska

 A year ago, as we began planning for our mission, we dreamed of going on a cruise with just our adult children and spouses before leaving.  That dream came true in August when we went as a family to Alaska!  Just getting 11 of us to the boat was a miracle. We almost didn't all make it!  One of the miracles was that as we were on the light rail in Seattle with the minutes counted exactly to get there on time, we realized that we had left my briefcase with our passports, back in the truck in the parking lot.  Dwight went back to retrieve it and he and I were the last ones on the ship!!  They were doing the lifeboat emergency drill as we raced on board.

 We drove to Hillsboro, OR to pick up Marianne, staying at her house the night before the cruise.  On the way we stopped at Multnomah Falls near Portland.  Here's a pix of the muscle men that work out together at BYU in front of the restaurant.  Matthew, the newest member of our family, and our son Jordan.

We loved the formal dinners together but every single night, rather than go to the shows or activities planned on the ship, we would go to our favorite conference room; play games, talk and just hang out together.  We had a family home evening there that was so full of the spirit and our amazing family's insights.  We so seldom get a chance to just talk with all the adults in our family together ....... it was truly treasured time.
One of our fondest memories of the cruise was that on Sunday we joined a group of African American Christians in a worship service.  I had prepared copies of songs about Christ from our hymn book, contacted the cruise line months in advance and received permission to have a hymn worship service.  For some reason, when we were actually on-board they would not allow it, so we found a big group, asked to join them (the only pale faces in the crowd) and sang the songs of the Lord together.  It was a lifetime memory.  We loved it and I have tried to restrain myself in Sacrament meeting ever since from yelling out with all the fervor of my heart, "Amen!" to underscore whatever anyone says that I passionately agree with

Rachel ended up having her baby exactly one week from the day we disembarked from our cruise. 

Here is the picture of another miracle. Rachel was worried about getting on the cruise nine months pregnant.  I went to DI and got a 42 triple D bra and sewed pillow stuffing into it to make them absolutely gargantuan!  The idea was to create a diversion and a shelf to hide her stomach! I sent it to her with a moo moo. and no one batted an eye as she waltzed through check in with her husband the lawyer ready to defend her if needed. 

Much of the party centered around the food!
At one of our port stops, Juno,  we encountered some rather intimidating wildlife....luckily the men had been working out.....This picture was taken right after they had stuffed their kill! We also split up with Ben and Garrett going salmon fishing in Montana Creek and pulling out 500 lb fish, at least according to Garrett's report!  Molly and Rachel did some shopping, Marianne, Dad, Jordan and Danielle went to the Glacier and everyone had a blast! 
At Juno, some of us went on a dog mushing tour!  We got to play with the puppies, experience the dogs pulling us, learn all about their training and see some incredible scenery.

We went on a bus and train tour through White Trails in Skagway.  It was stunningly beautiful and the weather was amazing.  A kind fellow traveler took this shot for us with the rays of heaven beaming down through the clouds on our family.  That's seriously how I felt about it!
A stop for bison chili!
Enjoying the time on the scenic train ride.

The girls went to the most gorgeous floral paradise in the world!  We had an amazing day and the guys went on a city tour and to some baseball shop???? beats me.......when you can go see flowers???

We had high tea in Butchart Garden's restaurant on the patio!  It was glorious!  Danielle, our tea aficionado, was near tears.....reminiscent of her Canadian home tea....  I don't know when we will be able to have an experience like this again, but what a send off for our mission!  We loved every minute.