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Showing posts from June, 2011

Math vs. Poker

Poker tournament or homeschool math class. You decide. Nah, we get to decide. Totally math class. :) Sounds like a pretty exciting class out there!


After a hard day's work, we visited the swimming hole with the Igels and Godwins . Great place to hang out and cool off! Apparently swimming holes are normal for Missouri, and we love them! Picture by Brian Godwin, I forgot my camera and was stuck with my phone! Can't take credit for them, but I love this boy's eyes! :)

Joplin video and graffiti

After working at the Salvation Army today, we drove through town again to take video. It helps you see more than the pictures probably, but it's still nothing like seeing it in person. We'd seen pics and video before we came too, and it definitely doesn't prepare you for the reality. On the edge of the destruction, we found a gas station damaged but still open, and this very cool wall of encouraging graffiti. Loved it!. A 1.5 minute video that shows just a little of the tornado's destruction. Video starting at the front of Joplin's (former) high school. Video of the side view of Joplin's (former) high school. It was also nice to see our friends, the Igel family again. They're here to help out as well.

Saturday in Joplin

More pics from Joplin today. There was a beautiful sunset after our long (10 hour!) day of working. We helped again at the Salvation Army. Lizzy and I sorted and stocked new clothes/shoes. Allen rocked the forklift all day and Josh helped him work outside. Matt helped us, Allen, his new favorite friend Mr. Mel, some very pretty volunteer girls, some customers needing assistance, and pretty much anyone who needed it, or didn't. He was quite helpful getting inside the huge boxes to hand things out. Call me crazy, but there's just something adorable about a man on a forklift. :) After a full day's work, we went with the Godwin family and gave out dinners for Joplin Family Worship Center . The kids have been wanting to hand out food and were excited and full of energy somehow. JPFW provided roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, bread, cookies, and water and sent us to find hungry people. We found some very grateful people working and living in the disaster area. It

Volunteering in Joplin

The topic for this month's FOTR Blog Carnival is volunteering on the road, which we happen to be doing in Joplin MO. Most of us hadn't even heard of Joplin until the devastating EF5 tornado on 6/22/11 . We were on the east coast heading toward Maine and we had a plan. But one of the advantages of living on the road is that we don't have to stick to our plan! From the reports, photos, and videos, we knew there would be a great need for help, and thought it would be a good opportunity for our whole family. Turns out having a whole family would make it a little more difficult. Most organizations wouldn't allow children under 18 to help at all, so it took some digging. Another difficulty was finding the info before we got here. Many places didn't answer calls or emails, so we weren't sure of our plans (or if we'd be able to help at all) until we arrived. Even then, we visited and asked around until we found enough info to give us some options. Fortuna


We don't drive far these days, just 3-4 hours in one day, usually with a lunch break thrown in. Gone are the days of 8 hour drives in a rush to get there and back. Now we just meander slowly, which helps with the "are we there yets?" It doesn't eliminate them, or the fighting, or the whining, but it helps. We chat, sing, play games, and they ask questions. (Oh the questions!) And I love that, but I also love the moments where it's quiet, too quiet, and I see this... Awwwww. :)

Joplin, MO - our first look

We got to Joplin on Monday and drove through the city. We'd been reading about the tornado damage , looking at pictures and videos, but nothing prepares you for the reality of it. The tornado was a mile wide, then went for miles, though neighborhoods and businesses and medical buildings. Seeing houses completely gone with even the basements exposed made us wonder how anyone survived at all. It was mile after mile of just unbelievable devastation. This article about St. Johns hospital was hard to read, but we'd wondered what it would have been like inside that hospital during a tornado. That was a car I think. There are a lot of volunteers working all over doing so much, but the job is just so big. For sale by owner... It was interesting to see a play land survived. Built tough for kids I guess! We saw this a few times. No glass left in any window, mirrors broken, duct taped, but they were happily driving down the road, one with his foot sticking out the front windsh

Meeting the Lende family, yet another RVing family

After we met the Weeds in Indy and visited the Arch in St. Louis, we stopped at a church to spend Saturday night. Then I found out ANOTHER RVing family was nearby! The Lende family was only 10 miles away from us, and I've wanted to meet them for so long. So we made another way-too-quick visit and got to know them. Their campground let us pull in beside them, so we were neighbors for a bit. We got to chat, the kids played, and we even had a jam session. What I keep forgetting to do though is to take a group photo! I snapped a few pics though. :) Video of our jam session: We look forward to running into the Lendes again, hopefully for a much longer time next time!

St. Louis Gateway Arch

We stopped in St. Louis to check out the Gateway Arch , and the kids earned another Junior Ranger badge . It was a bit crazy getting there though. Fortunately, there's free RV parking along the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, there was a 12'2" bridge (we're 13'5"!) so we couldn't turn down that street. Fortunately we didn't, because it was under water! So we parked across the river at a gracious casino and walked the mile back to the arch. The kids enjoyed the views and the underground museum. That's the street we needed. Great view from my office! Kayaker guy It was a quick, but fun and educational stop on our way west.