Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Our flight from MN to Portland was pretty good. Jonas and Ella are at great traveling ages. Kate doesn't sit very long and is never very quiet, but she did well. At least she was happy. The kids were very entertaining during take off. Everyone around us enjoyed the play by play of "we're headed down the runway, we are going soooo fast, I see the little building, we're going in the clouds, my tummy tickles, my head is stuck on the seat, I see earth down there, are we at grandma's house now? (5 minutes off the ground)". Ella is super friendly. She introduces herself to everyone around her and shows them her bracelet, her doll, and her sister. She tells them that there are 3 girls in our family and 2 boys and that her brother doesn't like pink. She's very endearing. Jonas on the other hand usually mumbles a reply while looking at the ground when he's spoken to. We're working on that! Kate just tries to get a laugh out of people.

Friday night when we got to the house we were all in for a surprise: great grandma Stamper is here! Gran D flew from her winter home in AZ to Portland just to see us all! I don't know how she kept her secret, but she pulled it off beautifully! It was great to spend time with her. We love her so much! Thank you for coming, grandma Donna.
On Saturday we celebrated 3 birthdays. Grandpa Stamper is 52, Ella is 4, Kate is 2. It was fun to be with family again.

On Sunday we went to Open Door Baptist Church. Jason enjoyed being home and I love meeting new people that were once a huge part of Jason's life. It was good to connect with some old friends as well.

On Monday Jason, grandma Donna, and I got to tour Jason's dads power plant. I didn't really understand much about the "combustion" process, but it was amazing to see and hear about it all. Jack is an electrical engineer and Jason enjoyed talking to his dad again (as he did for years growing up) about all that stuff. We also had dinner with the Engelhardts. We were able to skype Aaron and Nina in China while we were there. It was so good to "see" them!

On Tuesday we went to a huge mall, REI, and the Claim Jumper restaurant in Portland. Jason and I took a long walk also. The trees and rocks here are covered with a thick layer of bright green moss from all the moisture. It's beautiful. It's been raining most days. There was a beautiful vivid double rainbow today. It was probably the best I've ever seen. This picture just doesn't capture it.  The kids were so anxious to get out so we just let them get wet and muddy at the playground. It was great fun!

On Wednesday grandma and grandpa took us to the Chrilderen's Museum. After that we went to the Columbia Outlet here where I got a new coat! Jason preached on Wednesday night and the kids got to go to AWANA here. I actually brought Ella's book along because the poor girl struggles memorizing (like ME!). I knew we'd be gone for 2 Sundays and it helped to say a verse here. Now she'll only have 2 to say next time. Jonas has been doen with his book and review for a few weeks now so he just relaxed! :)
On Thursday we packed up and headed to Bend, OR where Mark and Amy live. It was a BEAUTIFUL 3 hour drive through the Cascades and into central Oregon to the high dessert region. The rugged rough beauty of the land was amazing and powerful. "...Creation proclaims His handiwork" (Ps 19:1). It was so good to see my sister, her home, and her life. Amy and I are so blessed to share the same family! The weather was perfect. For the next 4 days we enjoyed Bend and our family. The kids were able to spend a lot of time outside. We did a lot of swimming (indoor pool), site seeing, eating, shopping, and had some late nights playing Settlers of Catan (I never really wanted to learn that "dumb-looking" game, but I loved it- especially when I won!). We all laughed together so hard and so much that it hurt. It was good to see John, Jennifer, and Carson Tittle again. We enjoyed catching up with them and seeing Kate and Carson play together (he's 10 days younger than her). It was just like old times (plus a few extra kids and a pregnant belly- Jennifer's, not mine!)

On Sunday we had the opportunity to be at Central Oregon Baptist Church. Jason preached there also. It was amazing and eye opening to see a brand new church in a rented facility. There is an air of excitement with everything that has happened with God orchestrating lives and connecting people to be saved and discipled there. There is also so much work to do. The needs are great and it is thrilling to see God build His church and work through the Tittles and Mark and Amy while He's doing it! It was very humbling to watch as John and Jennifer, Mark and Amy set up and tear down and use what they have to teach and train people. The heart of service and love for the people is very evident in all of them. Amy and Jennifer play the piano, provide "nursery" (walking the hall in the back with a visiors infant) and hold a Children's Church in a 6'x6' room with some materials left over from another church. They do it all and they love it!

On Monday we headed back to Portland. It was a perfectly clear day and I couldn't stop taking pictures the whole way there! The mountains that were hours away seemed to be right there beside us. It was breathtaking. Mark and Amy were able to come back to Portland with us. Jack, Jason, Mark and Jonas went to a Portland Trailblazers game on Monday night and we girls did some more shopping and a marathon of girly movies. It was a great way to spend the last night.

Tuesday we left for the airport at 9:30 AM. The flight was really good. Kate slept- SURPRISE! and Jonas and Ella watched a movie just about the whole time. Once again they entertained those around us. I've never landed in the midst of a storm, but when we got into Minneapolis there was lightening around us and lots of turbulance. We had to circle several times and come in for a little bit of a rough landing (which only added to the kids excitement!). We are safe and sound and trying to recover from our trip- ya know what I mean? :) According to poor little Jonas' time clock he had to get up at 5:30 this morning. I'm thinking we're going to have a rough night at church tonight! The girls just fell asleep and now it's time for me to wake them up to go get Jonas from school. My thoughts are filled with my sister Amy and our home in Oregon today and I'm surrounded by a mess, but I wanted to take time to record this trip. It was wonderful. Thank you mom and dad S!


sc3b said...

I've checked a couple of times to see how your trip was...I'm so glad you were able to spend some time in Bend, seeing where Amy lives! We sure miss her here. So glad that your kids traveled well!!

Deanna said...

Wow! It sounds like you guys really had a great trip! It's so neat that you were able to spend some time with Amy and her husband. My sister is coming to Spain in 2 weeks and I can't wait to see her!!
I loved your description of how your kids entertained everyone on the plane ride. They sound like the most adorable kids!

Hannah said...

It looks like a fun trip. I'm glad you got to go. I love your sister with short hair! It is super cute on her. :-)

Matt & Nicki said...

This was so fun to read!! You did a great job of giving a play-by-play of your trip! I am glad you guys had such a good time! The pictures are beautiful!

Mark and Anne Brumbaugh said...

sounds like it was a great trip! The whole church plant thing is such an eye opener to see first hand isn't it? Glad you were all healthy and are back home safely!

Pam Warden Art said...

Wonderful post. Love the pics Beth. Grandma Stamper and I are the same age. But I'll be 53 in July. How nice to see you and Amy together.
Hugs to you all.