Wednesday night we finished theBOX (youth group) and we were out of the church just before 9PM. We rushed home, gathered everything into the van and were on the road with our late-night Wendy’s meal by 10PM. 600+ miles seemed like a daunting task to travel through the night, but it was a great trip and Ella slept nearly the entire way. There was one silly incident where she woke up as Jess and I were halfway through the AudioBook, “Alice in Wonderland” when Ella decided to “talk” to the reader for at least 15-minutes. It was hilarious! It was around 2AM and she must’ve thought there was someone new in the van with her and she wanted to talk with them instead of stay asleep.
We pulled into Mom and Dad’s driveway just after 8AM and were instantly greeted with excited grandparents! Jess fed Ella some breakfast and then we both headed into the dark basement for some much-needed rest while Ella, fully rested from the drive, enjoyed about 4-hours of non-stop Grandparent action! Our rest in the basement was short-lived as we awoke for a visit from my Grandpa Miller (and lady-friend, Alma). Let me just say that it is quite weird for me to see my 80-year-old Grandfather “dating”. We enjoyed their visit and dinner around the family table. We took some time to grab a 4-generation photo, too:
For the rest of the evening, we enjoyed walking around Dad and Mom’s property, taking pictures, drinking mint tea, and eating random leftovers from supper.
We did try and watch a DVD (Night at the Museum) but all found ourselves too sleepy to make it even halfway through it before giving up and going to bed.
On Friday I’m pretty sure I was a couch-potato the entire day. We did get out of the house a few times, but really enjoyed relaxing inside and enjoying the window-view of Jack’s Mountain. Mom and Dad treated us to a great local Chinese buffet for dinner and again we came home and crashed early for bed.
Saturday morning came quickly and by 8AM, Dad and I were off to go fishing. Newsletter from www.reelchase.com came in and informed us that it was PA’s “free fishing” day where you didn’t need a license to fish – and we took full-advantage of that perk! First-off, we had to get some bait, so we drove down the road to the advertised “bait shop” and found a tow-behind camper with a “self-serve” sign next to it! How funny!
Three dozen worms later, we were off to the dam on Lake Mitchell for some great father-son time!
The ladies arrived sometime after Noon and we picnicked with them in the shade.
One of my favorite things about PA-food is the famous PA “hoagie”. It is NOT a mere “sub”, it is a genuine work-of-art and shall be treated with respect and honor until the day I die. (In my head, quickly, I’m sure I had 5 over the 5-days that we were there)
So, back to fishing… We did catch some fish –
We didn’t keep anything, however. I think we actually caught 6 fish total, but those two huge carp weren’t really ours to claim. There were some nearby Amish guys fishing off of the dam that were going after the carp and when they had finally caught their fill, they offered us their trophies! We didn’t want them at first, but realizing that our wives would soon be arriving to picnic, we put on our thinking caps and added the carp to our stringers to impress the ladies.
Impress we did! Even Ella exclaimed “awesome” when we held up our faux-trophies from the water to show off our “winnings” before letting them swim off to the depths. Good fun, and yes, we did eventually come clean with our story and gave credit back to the Amish brothers.
After getting plenty of sun, we packed up our fishing gear and headed home for a relaxing evening. We made a quick stop at a horse-farm where we saw some horses! (of all things!)
Ella was quite interested in this new animal that she had only seen in books!
On Sunday morning, Mom and Dad had a great time showing off their granddaughter to their church family and I enjoyed the opportunity to preach there at Port Ann Wesleyan. After church I went outside and flew a kite!
And also took some more great pictures of my daughter:
Before evening service, we patiently awaited the arrival of my Uncle David and Aunt Bea Sheets who were being spontaneous-enough to come for a visit over Memorial Day. When they arrived we were all in awe of the way in which they arrived – a brand new Mini Cooper convertible.
After evening service, we all headed out for dinner at the “OIP” (original Italian pizza), but sadly there wasn’t enough room in the minivan for everyone, so Aunt Bea told me and Dad to go ahead and drive her new Mini to the restaurant!
The button-shield sticker for the convertible-top was quite humorous:
Of course I also took way too many photos from inside the car, and made dad bug-out his eyes for this one:
After staying up too late on Sunday night, we all attempted to sleep in a bit on Monday morning. After breakfast we were readying ourselves for a trip to Penn’s Cave when the phone rang telling us that “Babe” the bear was out! We quickly gathered ourselves into the van and all headed over to see the sight!
Babe is a pretty tame brown-bear and apparently has four cubs that she oftentimes brings down from the mountain to a family’s backyard that Mom and Dad are friends with. It was quite a sight to behold this wild bear eating table-scraps a few yards away from us!
After a great hour-long trip (with me driving the Mini, by the way) to Penn’s Cave, we arrived and Mom took Ella for a walk around the grounds while the five remaining of us went down into the belly of Penn’s cave!
This is the first cave that I’ve ever been to that actually is toured via boat!
I had quite a fun time rocking this boat throughout the 50-minute cave tour much to the dismay of my Father and Uncle who were both attempting to offset my sequenced weight-shifts! It was hilarious. The tour is very interesting, it’s not as amazing as other caverns that I’ve been in before, but the idea of touring from the water and actually exiting the cave into a hidden lake and then re-entering and going back through was exciting!
Dad and Uncle David drove the Mini back to Mom and Dad’s house as I followed in my HUGE minivan attempting to keep up with their zippy vehicle. We got home, enjoyed dinner together and then said goodbye to Uncle David and Aunt Bea.
It was a neat treat to have them share in our extended-weekend in PA!
I don’t know if it was the winding roads, something I ate, or emotional chaos, but for some reason my immune system is giving me fits since Sunday afternoon. I went to bed Monday night hoping for a full recovery by morning but awoke with similar symptoms. The drive on Tuesday from PA to Bluffton (where we are currently) was a difficult one with a few pit-stops and nausea most of the day. Even now I’m a bit off, hoping that a restful day will prove to be the best medicine.
Tomorrow we will head back to Warsaw and then I’m off to Indy for two days on Friday morning. I am preaching for Graduation Sunday, too, so prayers for our family are appreciated!