Time well spent

We’d only stopped 3 times so we went ahead and stopped in St. Louis. We were thinking about taking the tram up the arch but decided that would take too long and would be better to do when we have more time available.

Instead we checked out the old courthouse and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It was pretty cool.

There wasn’t an admission fee, and the ranger told us about the junior ranger program. Joanna was really excited to work through some of the activities and earn her junior ranger badge.

In addition to checking out the neat paintings and architecture we also watched part of a movie about the Dredd Scott trial. That was a sobering moment in the journey.

We all learned a bit working through the activities. There was even a pledge for her when she earned her badge. So cool!

I love our family trips and taking time to enjoy the traveling journey together!

Flowers at lunch

Today we ate at the hotel’s restaurant for lunch and met Mario from the Amazon. He was carrying palm fronds to create flowers. 

I’d seen him or someone else doing the same thing earlier in the day on the beach but had no idea what they were doing with the palm. He didn’t have a sample of a finished one, just a stack of long flat ones that he offered to me.  

We watched him make a flower for another couple in the restaurant and decided it’d be cool to get one too. We figured it’s nice to support someone making cool things. 

So, we nodded him over and started chatting. (He had helped send away another guy selling some figures made out of some type of clay). So that earlier help plus his bit of English scored some points with us. So we said yes to a flower. It ended up pretty cool.

Time to do LST again!

After a 7 year hiatus we’re excited to be planning to participate in a Let’s Start Talking project this coming summer.

We’re still working out the details of where we’ll be serving and whether or not our team will be bigger than the 3 of us (let me know if you wanna join us), but we have applied, have started re-reading Luke, and are beginning the fundraising process.

So, join us if you can! Check out some ways:

  • Join our team and go with us.
  • Pray about the work.
  • Make a financial donation. If you’re not a fan of giving online we can send you an envelope, just let me know and we’ll get one on the way to you 🙂

Though there are lots of details still to be decided, we do know that the main work we’ll be doing is helping people learn about God’s love by reading Luke and practicing English. We’ve seen such change in people’s attitudes about Scripture in the past by spending time reading with us that we know lives can be changed by our willingness to serve in this way.

We’re looking forward to the project and hopeful you’ll join us in anyway you can!

Here’s the link again in case you’re able to give online: https://give.idonate.com/lets-start-talking-estes-family/support#donate

Thankful for our village!

Last Thursday we decided to host 2 exchange students. We’d seen a friend sharing on Facebook that more families were needed and decided that if we moved Morgan’s office out the back room and into the front room/dining room/library it could work. The girls could have his office – since it’s actually a bedroom for the month.

Of course, we didn’t have a bed, let alone space for 2 to sleep! The guests will be middle school girls from South Korea. They arrive today. Yep, we decided on Thursday to host 2 girls arriving on Tuesday 🙂 They’re scheduled to stay about a month.

So, here’s where our village came in… a Facebook request for beds worked! We got a trundle frame and mattress from a friend. Conversations with other friends resulted in another frame, mattress, sheets, comforters, and a vehicle to pick them up in. Yep, a minivan to use – one that is brand new to the friend who loaned it!

So, we’re almost off to UCO to pick up the first girl and are looking forward to meeting both of them and learning a lot in the next month.

We made it to Philly!

J snow in Philly

The first half of our Thanksgiving/WordCamp US adventure has been great. We enjoyed some good time with family in Indy and made our 2 day journey from there to Philly Monday and Tuesday, arriving late last night. Now we’re ready for the WordCamp part of the adventure.

Yep, two days to travel from Indy – Philly. Having a 4 year-old along for the journey makes for lots of fun stops. I lost count last night how many times we stopped for potty breaks, but it was a lot!

Morgan’s off to the Community Summit today so Dad and Joanna and I enjoyed swimming and venturing out for lunch. We had some yummy sandwiches at Comcast Center and even caught part of a neat Christmas show in there too.

If you’re wondering about Morgan’s role here at WordCamp, check out this post from 10up to see a bit about Morgan and his co-workers who are speaking here this week.

I’m looking forward to a few more days of exploring the city with Dad and Joanna and then enjoying WordCamp with Morgan while Dad and Joanna get some grandpa/granddaughter time. And, when we’re all done here it will be great to get back home 🙂

Proud moment

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On our way out of town today we stopped to visit Uncle Steve at IFD 22.

Just before this picture a call came in and the other truck left for a medical call. Once they left we kept visiting and pretty quickly another call came in for help.

So, our visit ended as the rest of the fire fighters suited up and headed out. It ended up the call they were responding to was on the same street as the station so we drove by the two trucks and ambulance that joined them.

The proud moment came right after we passed them when our sweet girl told her daddy “we should pray for them, for Uncle Steve to be safe and for the hurt person to be well”. He agreed and they prayed.

Hearing her little voice from the backseat asking God to make them well and keep Uncle Steve safe and give us safe travels brought a happy tear to my eye.

A little info can go a long way

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While acknowledging it may be too early to rejoice, since I’m still at home in Edmond and not at my dad’s in Indiana, it seems like we’re off to a good start for our coming trip.

We are scheduled to begin an exciting journey today. First Indiana for Thanksgiving and then Philadelphia for WordCamp US.

With so much time away from home I’m a bit more anxious than usual prior to traveling and decided to check on our flight one more time late last night. Our connecting city was Chicago. They’re currently having a winter storm and flying through there isn’t looking like a good option at the moment.

The website said that travelers with destinations on the list of affected cities could change with no fee as long as their original departure and destination cities remained the same. It seemed like I should see about changing. Since I had bought our original ticket through AAA and not American I couldn’t make the change myself online.

So, I called American Airlines and discovered that yes, since our flight went through a city on their list we could switch for no fee. We rebooked through DFW for just a few hours later than our original flight, still on the same day.

Hopefully this is a win all around. A bit more time to finish getting ready this morning and not trying to go through a city having weather troubles. Though we could have probably been rebooked at the airport, that would have meant an extra hour and half in the airport early in the morning with a kiddo. Being home with her is much less stressful than hanging out with her for extra time in the airport.

What a change from my first days of traveling, back before cell phones, the Internet, and easy access to flight information from anywhere! I already had an alternate flight through DFW in mind when I called the reservation line, I knew that seats were available and the timing looking good. Back in the day, we just called an 800 number and hoped that the person on the other end would check things out and find us a way to get where we wanted to go. That worked, but this way seemed much smoother.

Like mother, like daughter – flowers

Have you ever caught yourself doing something and realize it’s something your parent would do?  I have, and its pretty funny when it happens.

Well, today in Ireland I realized that Joanna’s love for flowers may come from me…

She stops to look at and smell almost every flower we pass. We’ve seen it as a cute little behavior in her. Driving around a curvy Irish road today I caught myself taking yet another picture of flowers.

We’ve been here just 3 days and I have lots of pictures of flowers. I just keep noticing then everywhere and trying to capture their beauty.

On that curvy road it hit me that maybe her flower-loving behavior comes from me 🙂

I’m using more than one camera, so here is a tiny sample for now.

In Glendalough

It’s still a bit unbelievable that I’m actually in Ireland with my dad!

We first talked about doing this over 20 years ago, and its happening! 

This is the 2 of us at St. Kevin’s monastery earlier today. Fun times. 

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Fun on the way

We had a good last day in Indy/ first day heading home to OK.

J got to swim with Grandpa while I packed and napped.

After a quick lunch with Grandpa we hit the road and she was out before we got on the interstate.

We had smooth construction-filled travels to our hotel.

After checking in to our room we enjoyed the playground, gift shop, and restaurant. We even fulfilled Joanna’s wish of pasta for dinner. A second stop on the playground helped finish out some of her energy before bed.

I love that she gets excited about the flowers and stops to smell them.

Though staying in hotels with her at this age is a pain due to her restless excitement and unwillingness to settle down and sleep, this place seems to be a pretty good fit for us.

After settling into bed she asked to Skype daddy. Getting to see and talk to him was a good end to a nice day. We are definitely ready and excited to see him tomorrow.