Thursday, September 25, 2014

The last blog - a surprise visit, hot air Balloons, and a glimpse into what's next


Balloon glow - St. Louis
A surprise visit. As we were preparing to return to Missouri from our three week trip to Utah, we heard from our son Tyler that he and his family would be returning from Japan for a nine day family visit. We were delighted to hear this news. Instead of waiting a year to see their family, it meant “now”.
Tyler and his son Gideon
The rub was that one day after we made it back to St. Louis, they asked us to pick them up at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, six hours one way from St. Louis. 

We had a serpentine belt break on our Durango just outside of Rawlins, Wyoming. The location was extremely fortunate and we had a relatively quick but expensive repair and we were on the road again.

After one day at our home, I was on the road again back to Omaha. On the way to pick them up, I used this trip to pick up a few more items from an Amish store near Jamesport, Missouri.

Tyler, April and their four children flew from Okinawa to Alaska to Omaha to meet me with incredible timing just as I was driving up to the main gate at Offutt AFB. We drove all night, arriving at 4:00 am at our home. 

We hosted their family in our home. Having their family in St. Louis set off a wild and busy week of reunion and cousin activities.
Cousins getting together
sitting - April, Tawny, Tassa - standing Mariah and Tyler
Fire pit fun

Others join the fun. Our oldest daughter Tara had previously arranged to attend a dermatology conference in St. Louis so that meant four of our seven adult children and 14 cousins would be reunited.
Left to right - Tara, April, Tyler, Tassa. Tawny, and Brian 
Two cousins didn't make the picture 
Kesner family with Brian's parents
Our daughter Tawny’s in-laws were also arriving midweek for a planned visit from Pocatello, Idaho to join this burgeoning mass of humanity.
Ourselves with our two newest grandsons, Max and Gideon
Balloon glow.  One special event we enjoyed together was the annual Balloon Glow event held at Forrest Park. 

This is a prelude to a Hot Air Balloon race to be held the next day. I hadn’t attended before but Darlene had. 
Two grandmothers walking with progeny to the Balloon glow
It was a wondrous surreal event - well worth the hassle of crowds and traffic coming and going.
Camping out in a crowd
Hot air  balloon
Our group fortuitously met up in the middle of the crowd and watched in awe as all the balloons would fire up and light up simultaneously at three to five minute intervals. 
Firing hot air into a balloon




Dazzling colors

If you are ever in St. Louis in September, put this on your calendar.
Our new post-mission life. Our company left on Saturday and Sunday and we are finally into our daily routine. I got some good news on my heart health and am managing my diabetes through an effective low carbohydrate diet. 

I have picked up a couple of speaking engagements ad have one farm family business consultation in the offing.

Darlene has been called as a Ward Family History Consultant (what else?) and I will be starting an eight week marriage and family relations class on Sundays beginning Oct. 12.

Last blog. This will be the last regular blog for “Musings in Mongolia”. The blog will remain on the Internet for viewers to read for background information and photography about Mongolia. 

From time to time I will add church-related information about Mongolia, reunion events about Mongolian returned missionaries and announcements about a future publication of a photographic journal of our mission.

I will be starting a new blog, “Musings in Missouri”.  This will be a more traditional family blog though I am still contemplating offering social and cultural commentary and advice on the blog also. This will be a work in progress.

Working with my son-in-law, Darin Andersen, I will be revising my website, www.valfarmer.com to make access to my archived writings more user friendly. 

I will also be writing a new book on family farm relationships to go with my two other books on marriage and farm stress. I think I will be busy. I know my wife Darlene will be busy and productive. It is her nature.

Thank you all my dependable and faithful reader/viewers who received “Musings in Mongolia” so well. It chronicled an unbelievably rewarding two years of our lives and we were pleased to share it with you.


1 comment:

  1. Your family is amazing! I am so glad you got a nice visit from your kids who live in Japan. That is wonderful! Thanks so much for always blogging! Much love - Jeanette

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