Mennonite Your Way

When Dan and I were planning our road trip my dad enlightened us about an organization called Mennonite Your Way.  Basically it’s people who are happy to welcome people into their home for a night or two and extend some Mennonite hospitality their way.  There is a directory of people that are willing to do this and for a small fee you can purchase this book.  Dan, always up for new things and meeting new people, was very keen to do this for some of our stops on our road trip.  I saw it as a chance to have a home cooked meal and an inexpensive place to stay. 

We stayed at two Mennonite Your Way homes on our journey; one in northwestern Ontario and the other in Pittsburgh.  Both couples were very lovely and we had really good experiences at both places.  Our first stop was particularly memorable…

We arrived at a lovely country home out in the woods about an hour west of Sudbury.  Their home was beautiful, the couple were very friendly and we had a very delicious supper.  Jacob was on fine form and when it was bedtime he went to sleep just fine.  As it had been a long day for us too, we also went to bed fairly early only to be woken up around midnight to Jacob coughing.  It sounded like he was choking so we jumped out of bed.  Just before reaching his travel tent we could hear him throwing up.  He threw up all over his tent.  He’s only thrown up twice before so naively we thought this was it.  Dan went to sleep in another bed and I took Jacob into bed with me.  An hour later he threw up again, in our shared bed.  Thankfully it was containable but nevertheless disgusting.  For the rest of the night he threw up pretty much every hour, on the hour, until 8am.  Each time Dan and I got more towels and added to the pile of laundry we’d be leaving behind. 

We were exhausted in the morning and as we were leaving we were not as together as we normally are.  So we ended up forgetting a bag at their house.  Unfortunately this bad contained our passports that would be needed in a few days to get into the States.  So, an apologetic phonecall later, and we arranged to get our Passports posted express to Toronto and they mailed the bag and the rest of its contents (cell phone, Kindle etc.) back to Winkler. 

We won’t forget our first Mennonite Your Way experience.  I’m pretty sure they won’t forget us either!

In the midst of all of this we had a really great time with them and learned about making maple syrup.  They moved to this property a few years ago and started tapping their trees for sap.  They now tap 150 trees and make about 30 litres of syrup each year.  What’s great is that their neighbours are really getting into it so they were over loads helping out with the syrup making.  We got to help them collect the sap, we saw how they boil it down and filter the syrup.  We had French toast, bacon and maple syrup for breakfast.  It was so delicious. 

We thought it best to attach photos of this latter part of the experience rather than the former.

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Delaware

We spent four days in Delaware with a friend of Dan’s from University, his wife and family.  I had never met Nitan and Amy before but Dan assured me that they were lovely and that I’d enjoy spending a few days with them.  As he often is, he was right.

I’m not sure what I expected Delaware to be like, but it wasn’t what I imagined.  It’s very rural, agricultural, and flat.  There are lots of Amish people that live there as well, who knew?DSC06780

We visited Rehoboth Beach.  The temperatures were so beautiful while we were there, we enjoyed our flip flops and spending time outside.  It was beautiful when we arrived at the beach but sadly in the hour when we ate our fish and chips the weather turned and it was foggy and a bit chilly when we went back outside.  We still dipped our toes in the water though, how could we not?! 🙂DSC06707

We also visited Washington DC.  We had a great day with Amy and the girls exploring the Mall and seeing the sights.  Again, the weather was beautiful so we had a picnic on the green outside of Capitol Hill.  Beautiful.DSC06715DSC06724DSC06719DSC06759

We just arrived home in Winkler.  There is still so much snow…  Back to winter!

Toronto and New York

On Tuesday we said goodbye to Toronto and headed south to New York state.  I lived in Toronto for about three years before Dan and I got married and moved to the UK.  Toronto was home – I loved the time I spent there.  It was such a time of growth and change in my own life and I met so many wonderful and inspiring people.  I will always treasure the years I spent there.DSC_1583

I had such a wonderful time in Toronto over these last few days; my heart is full from all of the time I was able to spend catching up with friends.  I wish we could have stayed longer though, as spending a couple of hours with valued friends just isn’t long enough.  Our time in New York was also too short but so sweet with valued friends.DSC06690photo-35DSC_1549

We are so blessed to have great friends and precious family around the world.  However, the down side is that we would love to be close to everyone and my heart aches knowing that no matter where we live, we will always be far away from people we love.  Because of this, goodbyes are a very regular part of our lives.  It seems too often that we hug and say goodbye to friends, people we love so dearly, and are unsure of when we will see them next.

Dan (and my sister) had to convince me that we could do this road trip with Jacob.  I was very unsure of how it would work and if Jacob would cope with so many hours in the car.  I’m so glad that we’ve done this trip though.  I’ve been reminded of all of the wonderful people we have in our lives, loving us, praying for us, cheering us on.  It’s incredible to feel this banner of support and love before we head off to Zambia.  We are so blessed, so fortunate, to have such rich lives because of relationships we have with so many fantastic people.

Jacob also made some new friends along the way.  We went out for breakfast to a proper greasy spoon cafe in Cohoes New York.  In their restaurant was a pool table and at 8:30 in the morning three older gentlemen were playing pool.  Jacob loved watching them play.  He laughed and interacted with them for most of our time there.  It was so cute. DSC06681

Warning signs

More than a week into our road trip and it has been noted that the roads of North America are littered with yellow sign posts warning its navigators of the various dangers they are facing. Many of these perils are somewhat alien to drivers like myself, to the point that I thought some of you might find it interesting to know what hazards we’re conquering during this adventure we’re on.

Corners: No big deal, we have a few of these in the UK too.CSC_1497

Avalanche: Can’t say I’ve dealt with too many of these in my time, but thankfully we’ve not come across this yet.CSC_1495

Moose: If only. We’ve not spotted a single moose yet, but praying we do (from a safe distance anyway).CSC_1494

Deer: We’ve seen many a road-side deer. Beautiful.CSC_1487

Sasquatch?: Would be awesome. I’ve got the camera at the ready, just in case though!CSC_1486

Snowmobile’s and The Amish: I love that these two share the same tarmac. I also loved how the horse and buggy sign was followed by a 90kmph sign.CSC_1485CSC_1493

We’re really enjoying the trip so far, and if you think it, please pray for our continued safety and ‘fun times’ for the remainder of our journeying. (D)

Northwestern Ontario

We made it safe and sound to Toronto on Friday.  It’s great to be at our first destination where we actually get to spend a few days in a row.  From Monday to Friday we drove from Winkler to Toronto, approximately 2200 kilometers or a 25 hour drive (according to google maps).  Along the way we were able to meet up with my old bosses from a fishing lodge I worked at for a few summers as well as some relatives.  DSC_1074DSC_1145DSC_1180

This first leg of the journey went so well.  Jacob has been an absolute star and I would say that we didn’t get any more crying/whining from him than we have in any other normal day.  Love him.  Admittedly a Baby Einstein DVD has been on repeat at times, but you do what you need to do, right?

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Most of our journey involved driving around Lake Superior, which was stunning.  It was so beautiful.  Snowy and icy and truly Canadian.  On Thursday morning there was a fresh layer of snow that made driving a bit stressful but made the scenery even more breathtaking.  We are so glad we took the extra time to drive to Toronto this way.

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Road tripping with my two favourite allies

Today we are embarking on our first family road trip.  We have friends in various different places in North America and we’re headed on a journey to spend some quality time with some quality people.  We are driving through Canada to Toronto, then heading down to New York state, then Delaware, Chicago and then home.

It will be epic.  It is adventurous.  Yes, we are taking Jacob.

Jacob is a star traveller.  That said, this amount of travelling will probably test this to the max.  We are going to take our time and haven’t scheduled in any really really long days of driving.  I googled ‘going on a road trip with a baby’ to see if there was any helpful hints or advice that might make this all go smoothly.   Most people that wrote about this were talking about journeys of eight-ish hours…  Ours journey will be significantly longer than that…

Dan recently discovered a website called Roadside America which lists all manner or ‘world’s largest/smallest’, where small towns of America can lay claim to fame. Thank goodness this was only discovered after planning our road trip, otherwise we might be using the website as our compass.  After discussion we’ve decided to narrow down our options to just two minor detours for these oddities.  Hot Dog Bun Museum and the world’s largest flamingo have been whittled away, but the world’s smallest church and the world’s largest ball of paint are still in the running…. We’ll be sure to let you know what we agree on. 🙂

This trip will definitely be an adventure.  I feel strangely hopeful that it will all go well.  I am confident that the moments of crying (from Jacob or myself!) and stress won’t compare to the fantastic times we have with friends over these next few weeks.

Well wishes and prayers welcome.