Wednesday, June 24, 2015

An Adventure in Togetherness :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We have been pretty busy back here in Virginia and I have had so much fun the last week that I haven't had time to get this post, I'll finish this one today and shoot for another one early next week, then back on schedule.

We had a little excitement at our apartment complex last Sunday night, June 14 just after I posted my last report.   Elder Ashton and I were doing our usual Sunday evening thing and sitting around in our bare or stocking feet, when sirens started to sound.....nothing unusual in that.   

The unusual thing occurred as the sound of the sirens drew closer and closer and closer until the flashing lights stopped right in front of our apartment.   I looked around to make sure Elder Ashton and I were both still alive and kicking and found that we were so I breathed a sigh of relief and peeked out the blinds to watch what was going on.   

Turned out that nothing was going on.....after about 20 minutes the EMTs left with an empty stretcher and by then I was awake enough that I didn't need to go to bed at my usual 8:30 bedtime :)

I drove by these interesting purple flowering shrubs and just had to turn around and take some pictures - I liked the unique shape and structure of the blossoms.

These are blooming in yards all around Portsmouth for the last week or so.   Very Pretty!

The Crepe Myrtle trees are still blooming beautifully.   Lots of white ones but I am noticing different colors coming out.   This white tree is moving from the flowering to the next stage as you can see from the photo above and the ones below.

We also went zooming by this bush as we came back to town the other day.   Several different colors of pink can be found in various yards and along roads.  When I see the beauties of nature it always makes me smile.

Ready to burst into bloom

And I have found that there is beauty even in older things......this tree has the shells from last years blooms and they have their own unique beauty.   That made my day when I realized that because I am definitely feeling like I most have the only the shell of blooms from many years ago left - but still have my own unique beauty as an oldster :)

On Wednesday evening part of our family arrived from Arizona to spend a few days with us.   I was soooooooo EXCITED to see them and get a chance to spend time with them.   We used couches, beds and floor space and spread out in our little apartment the best we could.    Thursday morning all were awake and ready to see some sights while Elder and Sister Ashton went to the mission office.

Granddaughter Brycelyn snoozing in the "missionary apartment" :)

Levi and Mom (Michelle) just woke up

Dad (Quinn) checking to see if Mimi is asleep or faking it ;-)

While Grandma and Grandpa tried to keep up with mission activities on Thursday and Friday, Quinn and family went to see Jamestown on Thursday and spent Friday at Virginia Beach.   I think the sites they saw gave everyone a new perspective on this part of our country and some of the sacrifices that were made to give us the freedoms we have today!

Another son, Colby and his wife Miranda, and four boys planned to arrive in Chesapeake about 3 p.m. on Friday.   However, there plane was delayed leaving Phoenix which caused them to miss their connecting flight in Atlanta by 30 minutes - thus they spent an extra 12 hours enjoying the beautiful sights in the Atlanta airport.....finally arriving at one of the few hotels between Richmond and Chesapeake that had a room for them about 3 a.m. on Saturday!  Yikes!!! - what a way to start a vacation.    They needed a few extra minutes of sleep before we went to our planned destination of the day (the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, NC), so Quinn's family and the elder Ashtons set off for a quick stop at the Dismal Swamp.....even in the sticky, hot weather!

As we neared the entrance to Dismal Swamp State Park, we came upon these groups of bright yellow flowers with crepe myrtle trees just ready to bloom in the median.   So very bright and cheery!

Quinn and his kids on the bridge at the Dismal Swamp Canal

The ranger at the bridge to the Dismal Swamp boardwalk tried to warn us that the biting flies were really bad along the trail, but I didn't thing they could be as bad as he indicated so after spending a few minutes in the Visitor's Center, decided to take a short stroll along the boardwalk.   The first thing I noticed was some heavy foliage growth and thought I would capture a picture of that.....but found an added surprise when I bent down to snap the picture.   Do you see at least one black and yellow butterfly in the picture below?

It didn't take long on the trail to realize the ranger had been exactly accurate in his description of the biting flies!!!! - so we hurried along the short trail to get back inside.   Did take time to stop and snap this picture - Quinn said these are called Cypress Knees.

I thought these were very interesting.

We finally met up with Colby and his family at about 1:30 at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. We  listened to the presentation from the ranger and I found myself moved as he reminded us that Orville and Wilbur Wright brought about "the death" of impossible.   He said that man had tried to fly for hundreds of years (in fact, nearly a thousand years) and could not figure it out.  But Orville and Wilbur finally accomplished what had eluded others - due in large part to their vision, determination and hard work.....and in December 1903 the flying machine built by the Wright Brothers left the ground on 4 short flights.   It was very moving to me when the ranger said this flight represented "the death of impossible" and reminded all in attendance that it took man 1000 years to fly and only another 60 some years to reach the moon - I had never considered it in quite that way.

Colby, Miranda, Cooper, Tucker, Duncan and Grady with a model (cost $1 million to build) in the background.

The most interesting thing in this case (to me) was the square of white fabric and the plaque that indicates the brothers used their mother's sewing machine to sew the fabric into covering for the wings on the plane.  I remember some of the Ashton boys sewing some things on this mom's sewing machine a number of years ago :)

When the Wrights decided that Kitty Hawk would be the best place for their attempt to fly, they "moved" there.....had two small buildings where they intended to be comfortable while work progressed - one for the hangar for the airplane and one for their living quarters.

Quinn, Michelle, Levi, Brycie, and Mimi standing in front of the living quarters.

The whole group (except Grandpa and Grandma who were too tired and hot to climb the hill, in front of the memorial.

Colby and Miranda's boys decided to pretend they were Orville Wright and let Mom and Grandma take their picture :)

Brycie and Levi also took a turn posing beside Wilbur with Grandpa looking on :)

Next stop - Grave Digger's Dungeon and the monster trucks

Brycie, Mimi, Duncan and Michelle check out one of the monster vehicles.

Pretty girls posing beside a "grave digger".

Cooper, Tucker, Duncan, and Grady found another awesome monster!

The Ashton clan ready to ride the Monster :)

Tired, sweaty and a little sunburned, we started the drive back to Virginia.   As I was staring out the window, I noticed this picturesque abandoned small home......what stories could those walls tell?

Another aging home that makes for an interesting picture and prompts some pondering about my blessings.

We enjoyed attending church together and having a "family dinner" together on Sunday.  It was a bit challenging to set out a buffet of food for 13 people in the little "missionary apartment" but the company of family more than made up for the challenge!

What fun to wake up on Monday morning to an apartment full of Ashton boys before they headed off to Washington, D.C. -   Duncan and Grady snoozing away :)

Cooper and Tucker getting a few more minutes of sleep before they start the week in DC.

What a GREAT week it was.......spending time with family while still having the opportunity to work and do what we can to help out in the mission.   As I talked with and watched my grandchildren, I began to get excited thinking about them having the opportunity to serve in a few years and enjoy the opportunities to help others and learn important lessons themselves.  

We've already had some interesting moments this week....but those are for another post :)

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