August 31, 2006

Wow. What a day. What a loong few days! Yesterday’s news is old already so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t post anything. Haha.

The bus is our transportation to concerts. No bus, no concert. We were pushing the deadline to get the bus together for a concert Wednesday. We actually got it to start and moved it down the driveway. We had earlier that day moved a stack of lumber to make room for the backhoe. We eventually realized it was too long for the spot we cleared. AHHH! Not good. Then, dad peeked under the bus and found it was leaking WAY too much oil to take it out. So, we canceled that concert. AH! Not good. At this point we were canceling the whole trip. We can’t take a bus with leaky hoses, blue smoke and who knows what else, out on a long trip. It’s just not a good idea. I know this whole thing has been very stressful on dad. Thank you everyone for your prayer for us. I know the Lord will have His way in all of this. “And we know that ALL things…..”

So this morning, we’re back on track. Vincent amazingly found the hydraulic hose we needed in our massive collection of stuff. (See??! It pays to buy things in advance and store them! :-P ) They worked on it all day and took it on a test drive. Looks like it has all the same problems it did before we started off on the ‘change engine’ quest - stalling and underpowered on hills. Please pray we make it off OK on Saturday. We have a lot to do.

Oh, and the backhoe is going to be moved tomorrow morning to another storage location due to the cooperative town. We won’t have to deal with a more permanent storage solution until we get back. We’re praising the Lord for the semi temporary storage place we found! God is good.

And one picture to close this all off….

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What happens when you spend a day cleaning three years worth of oil and dirt off a 6V92? This picture.
: D (And a blue engine!)

August 28, 2006

I guess I should update on the bus first. : P

Well, the old engine went back in after a new injector (edit - make that SIX injectors!), alternator, a good cleaning, and more. When we got it back in it would not start! Bummer. After some trouble shooting Dad and Vincent got it started today. Yay! But, we're not over the 'hump' yet. It's blowing a lot of blue smoke. Something is still wrong! What that is we still do not know, for sure. We haven't taken it on a test drive. We're doing that tomorrow. It looks like *wince* we will alter our traveling plans and not cross the Rockies and stick to the plains if this smoking problem is not fixed by Saturday. :-(

Going back in...
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....this weighs about 3,000-3,500 lbs.

In other news...

Vincent had a nice birthday! Papa and the birthday boy...

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Bonnie previously mentioned I had some news...

A Sony Vaio laptop is now in my care. :-) It came today while I was on the way to work, of course! But, I saw the delivery truck. :-) I'm getting use to the strangeness of it. I don't think it's sunk in yet....I have a laptop..nah, this must be a dream.....

Speaking of dreams, I'm very tired and I am going to bed. You know, too many 11:30pm nights can wear on you! : D *yawn*

August 27, 2006

Happy 17th Birthday Vincent!

Feel free to send him a b-day ecard or email @ vwmacd at gmail dotcom. :-)

Pics coming later and an engine update.

August 25, 2006


This is what the situation looks like at the moment.

It’s cloudy and rainy.

Our old engine has broken ring(s?) in the oil pan. Dad thought we had the kit to fix that. He thinks there is something else wrong as well, he mentioned something but I can‘t remember the name of it, but, he‘s not sure. Something about drive shaft bearings. ?? Anyway, we’re running out of time. One week from tomorrow was/is our departure date. We were given notice that the backhoe, which we’ve been using to move the engine, must be out of sight from the road and abutters properties by today (thanks to a town bi-law which is only enforced when someone complains!). The place we have to park it to comply with the town is being blocked by the bus which we, as of now, can’t move. Praying for leniency and more time!

We canceled the concert for today. We are suppose to be doing the music for a local church on Sunday morning. Please pray that things work out as far as transportation goes since the van is broken and the car, which is acting up also, is not big enough for all of us (let alone sound equipment!). We might be piano and vocals only Sunday.

This whole experience is pretty faith stretching!!

"And we know....." Romans 2:28

August 24, 2006

A unexpected development…..

We just discovered the engine we were going to replace our old engine with is junk. They found pieces of the bearings in the oil pan. It doesn’t look good for the fall trip. No bus, no trip. This is quite a bummer....

And we know in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Prayers appreciated.

August 21, 2006

A busy week…

Well, we’ve been home for one week today! The first few days were basically a blur of relaxing. LOL! Well, unpacking and just being in a familiar house can make it feel like relaxing. ;-) Vincent has been hard at work replacing the king pin on the bus with dad. It looks like we’re going to be replacing the bus engine, building a fence, fixing the van, and (ehem) installing an alarm system, all before September 2nd. If you think of us, pray for strength and perseverance to finish all the jobs we need to do!

My birthday, which you all know about thanks to my siblings, was very nice. J Thank you to all who sent ecards, emails, left comments, and, even called. It made the day that much more special! I spent most of the day enjoying being home, unloading a truck and getting a pillow project, which I’ve been want to do for a while, started and finished. Bonnie thought of the pin for the center. And it’s just decorative so I’m not worried about it poking anyone. ;-)

And in closing - two verses, a thought and another verse….

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 NIV

Praise God for His faithfulness and the great love He has for us. While we were yet sinners Christ died to redeem us from the grasp of sin. If we repent and believe He will give us eternal life, the hope of salvation. What a great hope we have!

….putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. NIV 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9

August 17, 2006

Please excuse the tardiness of this post! This is pretty detailed so don’t feel back if you don’t read the whole thing! Maybe the length will make up for it being so late?!


Our last week on the road.

Since I’ve been home it’s interesting to think about our ‘other life’. Our bus life. When we pull up to the front of the house all of a sudden we’re back. Not that life is boring or bad when we get back. It’s just different. Our focus is getting ready for the next ministry opportunity, in this case, the next trip which is rushing towards us at an alarming rate. Something like 2 weeks left?! We are so very thankful to the Lord for providing an engine instead of more buses to strip, which we thought at the time was a less than ideal situation. How great it is to know we are in the palm of His hand! He knows before we ask and He makes our way straight. Praise God for His infinite knowledge.

After our fun night in West VA getting our bus stuck, having our alternator break and all that, we started for Virginia. My grandparents more specifically. They live near the beautiful Shenandoah river. Mom and I sang a strain of the song as we drove on windy road next to the famous waterway. Sounds corny but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. :-P As we chugged and strained up a hill we saw flashing lights behind us. Uh oh. Dad seemed unconcerned as he pulled over and let the officers vehicles pass. Phew! We hadn’t gone too much further when ANOTHER vehicle with lights passed us. As we got closer to our destination down a practically one way dirt road we found a man on a lawn tractor and 3 marked patrol cars and a animal control SUV. Since there was no way to continue on the road we had no choice but to stop and wait. We got to see the man handcuffed and put in the car. I’m not sure what animal control had to do with it!

Before I start the part at Grammie and Granddad’s (G&G’s from now on) I should mention the gorgeous hills and mountains on the way. It’s was soooo pretty in Virginia! What a contrast to the desert or plains. God’s creation is so diverse! He could have made everything the same. But, He didn’t and I‘m thankful!

We got to G&G’s and we were greeting with hugs, kind words, and smiles! It was great to be reunited with our cousins after a year. They have been teaching English in China now for two years. They regaled us with stories of their travels and experiences and they gave us some coffee flavored gum and Chinese money. The gum was a big hit with the kids last year and so they repeated it to stay in our good graces. JK! We did yard work and took a dip in the lake. I really, really didn’t think the lake was all that clean, but, it was hot and well, everyone else was doing it! BUT, it’s a good thing I never touched the bottom of the lake. The shore looked entirely gross. Uncle Rob went in with his clothes and socks on in hopes of getting them clean(er). Ummmm….. I don’t know how well that worked…lol.

We ate, had devotions together, worked on the yard, fixed things, looked at pictures, talked, took pictures, sang together, laughed together, discussed things, traveled together and did many other things… including trying on Becca’s glasses. : D

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Meet the mod MacDonald family!

Devotion time as G&G’s was an immense blessing. With Christocentric teaching how can you go wrong? Everything is pointed to Christ! If you build your life centered on Christ and following Him everything you need for life will be added. The love my grandparents have for the Lord is so evident! The scripture that comes to mind is Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV
I wish I could stay for a month and listen to him expound on scripture.

We read from Granddad’s Idiomatic Translation. One morning 2 Peter 1:5-9 was our text. I wish I had it in his new translation but this will be suffice.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

We took everyone to our concert on Wednesday in the bus. Bonnie was teaching Auntie Val and Uncle Rob how to yodel in the way there. Hehe. Looking for your voice break can be pretty funny! : D

The concert Wednesday night was terrific! The Lord was working in hearts and the pastor was so touched. It was encouraging and uplifting. Bri (my cool awesome cousin!!!) was checking for smiles and I have to say I was in major shock she told me I smiled the least and Nathan took first place. Wow, they must have been grinning ear to ear the whole time! The boys finally found their smiles! Now to make sure they stay on for every concert. :-) Oh and we got to meet Mr. Bartlett’s sister!!

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It was so nice to meet her!

We were invited out to eat at Cracker Barrel, but, it was so late so we asked if we could take a rain check for the next evening. We stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home and saw a beautiful moon! I would post a picture but Bonnie’s laptop is in the shop, AGAIN! So, anyway, we got home really late but we had a lot of fun on the bus. We slept in the next morning. :-)

- the next morning -

Mom said “Bonnie fell down the stairs”. And through the fog of waking up the conversation went something like this:

Me: Is she ok?
Mom: I think she’s going to make it
Me: Uh? How is she? Can she play trumpet?? Will she be able to play at the concert tonight????
Mom: Go in and see.
Me (getting frantic): IS SHE OK?!
Mom: I think she’s going to make it.

Ok by now I’m picturing a huge fat lip and bloody teeth, a black eye and possibly broken limbs.

I got down the stairs, which she had just fallen down on, to the basement. I thought I’d find her with a huge ice pack and people clustered around her oooing and ahhing and maybe even passing out. I find…..nothing?! Where is she?! Going back up the stairs, void of blood splatters and body parts, I find she not in the kitchen or living room but in the dining room, calmly eating breakfast! Just the slightest bit of red on her nose would indicate any kind of bodily injury. She did have more bruises which I could not see. Anyway. The story is that everyone heard this HUGE noise. It was of course Bonnie flipping down the stairs with her guitar, in it’s case thankfully! My dad got to her before my mom and when my mom asked dad how she was he said ‘I think she’ll make it’ and soooo she thought she’d use the same line on me. Pretty good, eh? Well, I took it. Hook, line and sinker….lol. Anyway, we’re all so thankful to the Lord it wasn’t anything serious. A bruised nose and back was all!

We had another concert on Thursday. Before the concert we went to Cracker Barrel to eat. Our new friend wanted to take us out! We had a very nice meal! The only downer is they didn’t have any Dutch Blitz cards for sale. L Oh well, we’ve got some on order now. :-) A happy thought!

We had a nice concert at the Holden’s church Thursday. It was so nice to have our relatives faces in the audience smiling at us as well as those of our old and new friends!! We had a ‘smiling contest’ and Bri marked down how well we smiled for each song! Auntie Val said we had a 8 way tie for first…lol!

Now somewhere on this trip, oh now I remember, it was at the Myers, Vincent started talking in ‘duck language’. He’s memorized a little funny skit with a farmer and a duck. So, in the bus we have one ‘duck’, Vincent, and about 3 other ‘baby ducks’, Bonnie, Nathan, and I think, Peter. A lot of people working on their Donald duck voice saying, ‘I’m a baby duck’. It gets kinda wet and noisey with 3 three baby ducks all talking at once. It was getting to be quite funny….some of the ducks have grown up a lot on the past week, that meaning their voices are improving. That’s just so you have an idea how crazy we are. LOL I don’t remember how this came up but, in Iowa someone thought it would be cool to have a monkey. He could help us set up, be our audience, and hand out ‘Something to Think About’ tracts. We decided if anyone offered us a monkey on the trip we would take that as a sign that we were suppose to get one. But, no one did L

The MacDonald clan…
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We headed out to VA Beach area for a concert in the afternoon and a dinner at night. The concert went fine even though we had just a few people. It’s great how even if “two or three are gathered, there I am in the midst” is so true! God meets with just a few. J

We went to Aunt DeeDee and Uncle Dave’s house for supper. OH my MY! That was an exceptional dinner! It was fabulous. If you’re reading this, thank you so so much! We had a wonderful time! We got to catch up on cousins and second cousin news and played spoons. Yay!

Then, SATURDAY we got to visit everyone again! This time at Cousin Rob’s house. Swimming, fellowship, wonderful food, and even devotions. Thanks for your hospitality! We appreciate you all so much! Bonnie and cousin Rob went on a 5 mile run before lunch. Apparently all Bonnie’s talk about bare foot running encouraged Uncle Rob to try for 4 miles earlier that morning! I think she forgot to tell him to ease into it!

Well, we said goodbye to our cousins, drove back to the bus, and headed north.

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Vincent solved the ‘square the circle’ on that drive. :-)

Our concert Sunday afternoon at America’s Keswick in New Jersey went well. (If you can forgot that I forgot the words to the second verse of the Holy City until prompted by my family who knows all the words!) We had a very good attendance. Our friends from Mantua came, including Pastor Rich and about 9 other people from his church. Thanks for coming guys! We also had our friends the Kochers there! Thank you for coming also! I can’t believe we forgot to get the catchphrase from you all. At least we remembered the cds. : D

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Dad drove during the night and stopped only for a few hours. He was sooo tired! We got home at 5:32am. That day felt so strange. Right after we left KY our friend, who’s been keeping an eye on our house called and said our front door was open. He said nothing was obviously missing but we’d have to look it over when we got home. So it was s shock to see the dressers drawers open, money missing and stuff in different places from where we left it! The most irreplaceable thing taken was Nathan’s coin collection. No vandalism though! The police are working to solve the case and we are praying for the person(s) who did this. It reminded me that we should be storing treasure in heaven!

Matt 6:19-21
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Well. There you go. That’s our trip and what we came back to. ;-)

August 14, 2006

Home at 5:32am.

Thanks all for your prayers!

I'll have to edit later with more info on our last week...

August 11, 2006

Last time I left y'all we were in Iowa heading for Kentucky. We crossed the muddy Mississippi river on Monday and we parked at Wal-Mart for the night. The nice thing about stopping, besides the obvious benefit of sleep and rest, is that sometimes we find WiFi. That is, provided we're in a populated area. Generally we have to be outside the bus but not always. I wonder how funny we look to the locals with our laptops typing away....

We crossed the Kentucky state line with Matthew touching the windshield, making him the first MacDonald child to enter Kentucky.

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We stopped to buy diesel and found dad's old school, Zackary Taylor Elementary, right across the street. Dad located the street he lived on and we took a picture in front of the house.

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Notice how Matthew and Nathan are on tippy toes.

He remembered a lot of details about neighbors and incidents that happened while he lived there. It must have been fun traveling down 'memory lane'! I sometimes wonder what it will be like to go back and visit Orange in 30 years.

One of the monarch butterfly chrysalises we were given in Minnesota opened that first morning in Kentucky.

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God's amazing creation!

Then we were on our way to visit the Myers family.

I suppose I should start this story of meeting the Myers from the beginning. Mr. Dave Myers contacted us via phone months ago. They found us through the Dortignac family. Now, the kids had been wanting to visit Kentucky for a loong time; it is the 'bluegrass state' after all. ;-) (Ok, it's not talking about the music but as Vincent puts it, 'Bill Monroe was here!') So we thought we'd swing down and visit them and do some concerts there on our way back east. While traveling to their house on Tuesday dad glanced out the bus window and saw the dust cap fly off the back wheel of the trailer. Uh oh! Dad pulls over and the damage is assessed. We lost all of the lug nuts and the wheel was dangling from the trailer! But, it stayed on! Praise the Lord for His miraculous protection!!

Dad starts walking back down this three lane highway looking for lug nuts. He finds two on the side of the road and the other one in the middle of the road. He waited until the traffic was slow and dashed out into the road. Scary!

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You don't always remember how fast everyone is going until you're 10 feet away from the semi trucks going 70 MPH! Dad and Vincent put the lug nuts back on and we started limping up the highway. I say up because we were on a hill. Mom had called Mr. Myers by then and he met us about 10 minutes later and led us to his house.

When we arrived we were quite surprised to know they knew almost all ours names and, thanks to the blogs, they knew a lot about us, too. We felt so welcome! They fed us a yummy lunch and moved the trailer into the shop. Dad worked on it and was able to fix it with the parts we had picked up in Minnesota!

Our time with the Myers family consisted of lots of fellowship over volleyball, which we played late into the night, Dutch Blitz (a new game to us), chess games, bike rides, walks, playing and listening to music together, traveling to various places, kitchen clean up, meals, and other activities. Family devotions with them was a wonderful blessing! I wish we could have stayed for Sunday morning.

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Hannah let me try her quilting machine, it was just like the one I saw in New Hampshire except it was probably older and she paid way less than $14,000 for it.

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It's was so, so, soooo neat!! I signed my name and doodled a little. Basically anything you can draw you can sew. I'm pretty sure I want to get one now. : D Or, I could just bring all my quilts down. ;-) She also gave me some advice and a quilt pattern to try. I can't wait to get home and start it!

We met the musical and talented Thompson family on Wednesday night.

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They also came on Thursday night. It was neat to meet them. They traveled and sang for a while so it was interesting to talk with them. Bobby yodels quite well and Kevin reminded us of Jackie Dortignac for some reason. : D

My favorite picture of Vincent from the Wednesday concert. He's smiling!! Bethany and Lydia took pictures for us that night.

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He came in second on the smiling chart according to Bobby and third according to Jonathan. Keep it up Vincent!

Some of the Myers rode home with us from the concert. We played the picnic game and 'My Aunt Bee Died Last Night'. : D The bus was crowded but it was fun! And wow! The roads really are narrow here in Kentucky!

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Riding bikes - 7 miles round trip.

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Dad measuring the road.

Lydia and me on the computer. We both are pictureholichs. Our cameras are glued to us. : D
**edit with picture coming soon** (Sorry it took me so long Lydia!)

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The concert on their front lawn was great! A little stickier than we're use to though!! It had cooled down a little but I think we were all dripping by the end of the concert. It wins the 'most humid concert' award. Daniel turned white as a sheet after a few songs and said he didn't feel good so he went into the house to lie down for a while. He said later he never felt more like lying down! Poor little guy!
He started to feel better and came back out to finish the concert with us.

We got to meet a lot of the Myer's friends, co-workers and neighbors. A family who saw us at the Salvation Army while visiting family in Waterloo, Iowa came to listen too. They just happen to live a couple miles down the road!

Lydia and Hannah took pictures of that concert.

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Friday was sad because we knew we had to leave. :-(

Dad acquired a golf cart and the Myers rigged up a way to put it on the trailer with all the other stuff. We have one full trailer!!

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Vincent did a comedy routine about a football player doing a unrehearsed commercial. Mr. Myers found some quilts for him to use as 'sholderm' pads' . It's was so funny...

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The girls.

The last night we played volleyball (the net was set up in 2 minutes and 57 seconds - beating the prediction by 3 seconds!) for a few hours and then we had a prayer meeting under the stars. It's was beautiful. What better way to end an evening? Then we stayed up until almost 12:00am talking and saying goodbye. We finally said our 'real' goodbyes and got on the bus. *sigh* We are going to miss the Myers!

What a great time we had! The verse that comes to mind is 'How good and pleasent it is when brothers live together in unity' Psalm 133:1 NIV. Christian fellowship - how sweet it is!

We left at 5:05 am that morning and we're on our way to Grafton and Fairmont, WV now. Farewell for now Kentucky and hello West Virginia.

Next day....

Make that 'Hello stuck bus'!

We had some excitement last night. The church in Fairmont is on a hill. No surprise considering West Virginia is SO hilly! Dad started backing up and well, the trailer hitch got stuck.

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We couldn't move either direction. Putting wood under the tires didn't seem to help, they just kept spinning!

We arrived at about 5:00pm and we thought the service started at 6:30pm. So, we thought no problem. The girls and the kids will start unloading and set up about 5:30pm while dad and Vincent work to get the trailer/bus unstuck. Turns out it was really suppose to start at 6:00pm! Oops.

So by 6:15pm someone thought to pull the trailer up the hill. PTL! It worked and we started singing by 6:30pm anyway. : P

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Our friends the Aveys (sp?) came all the way from Ohio to hear us. Well, they were in WV for a family reunion anyway. :-) Thanks for coming and bringing some of your family with you!

So anyway, that was our little excitement for the day.

We're headed out to VA and then VA Beach area Saturday. Lord willing that is! The bus is stalling more, smoking a lot and using a huge amount of oil. Dad thinks something is broken inside the engine. Oh and the alternator broke too. : -( Looks like we'll have plenty of stuff to work on when we get home....please pray for the bus makes it home. August 13th is our last scheduled concert in New Jersey.

August 07, 2006

Just in case you're wondering...

First off - I have not died! I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted. Sorry everyone! I have the loveliest long post complete with lot of pictures about of KY part of the trip but *sigh* it's all on Bonnie's laptop. And the computer I'm at right now only has dial-up. *gasp* So, to save myself hours of waiting for uploads you all will have to wait until I get another WiFi. :D But, I will say we had a wonderful time!!! See Bonnie's post for a sampling of our week.

More coming soon...