Our Trip Out West

In mid June, our family took a trip to Spokane, WA. We were going there for the UMJA conference. It was a bit of an adventure for us because it included driving through the mountains and spending lots of time in the car with our 4 month old and 3 year old. Ben’s parents let us borrow their minivan for the trip which was a huge blessing!

How did the boys do on the road trip? They did really well! Better than I had thought! I think that they’re both at the perfect age for road trips. Zac isn’t mobile yet, so keeping him in a car seat wasn’t so bad. It’s not like he was restless to get out and move around. Since we were in the minivan, I usually sat in the middle row next to Zac and Mali sat in the back row. This way Zac could see my face while travelling, I could sing or talk to him and hand him toys or his soother. He was pretty happy most of the time. Mali was in the back and I could hand him some toys or put on a movie with the portable DVD player that we borrowed from some friends. Mali doesn’t get a lot of screen time normally so watching movies on the trip was a real treat and kept him occupied. He was happy most of the time as well. We took frequent stops as can be expected. Zac needed to nurse, and Mali needed to run around a little bit. The scenery along the way was quite epic and we all enjoyed our trip.

As we left home, we first drove through our flat prairies. It really is flat out here. I remember when Ben and I were friends, he would tell me that the prairies are so flat that if your dog runs away, you can still see him running away for three days…

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But you know, the prairies have beauty of their own. Standing out by a flat field, looking out at the vast open space around you makes you feel really small. With nothing obstructing the view, it makes me feel closer to God.

Our first day we drove about 6 hours and then spent the night at Ben’s uncle and aunt’s house.

The next morning, as we continued to head west, we started to see some hills and distant mountains.

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Then we came to a town and saw the world’s largest truck! It really was quite big and Malachi was fascinated by it.

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The weather was overcast that day and then turned to rain. We were planning to go hiking when we would reach Fernie, BC, so we prayed for clear skies. And indeed, when we reached Fernie it became nice and sunny!IMG_8234

We stopped by a nice mountain trail for an hour long hike. It felt so good to get out of the car and start walking.  The mountains are so amazingly gorgeous. I mean, I’ve always heard people say that  mountains are amazing, but you really don’t know it until you’ve been there and seen them. They are so huge and majestic and tower over you. Wow, it just makes you feel so in awe of God to know that He created them in just one word.

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It makes you feel small, like on the prairies, but in a different way.

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One of the first things that I noticed when walking into the woods was the smell. My first thought was that I must smell someone’s perfume that had just walked past. But there was no one else there and I realised that what I smelled was the forest itself. The plants literally perfumed the air.

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Someone got a little tired…

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We saw this interesting sign:

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And these footprints:

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The second day we spent about 12 hours to get to our destination in Spokane. It should have taken only about 7 hours, but we took our time and enjoyed the ride.

In Spokane, we attended the UMJA conference. Ben was excited about meeting some of his friends from Torah Resource Institute (TRI), as well as meeting new people. TRI is a really great organization. It’s an online Messianic school and it’s very well balanced. The courses are scholarly and prepare the students to not only have a good knowledge of theology, but also how to discern between proper and improper scholarship. Ben has really enjoyed his studies at TRI. While at the conference we also were able to meet other people invovled in UMJA and/or TRI. Ben had the opportunity to talk about Messianic mission and promote Messiah to the Nations.

The conference was quite teaching-intensive. In the mornings the boys stayed with us and played quietly with some toys that I packed for this conference and trip. I packed a little suitcase with toys, stickers, crafts and colouring activities that would be new to Malachi and that would keep him quietly busy. In the afternoon, there was a children’s program available. Malachi was extremely shy and didn’t want to participate in any organized children’s activity, even if I stayed by him the whole time. So, instead we tried our own different things. There was a playground near by as well as a big nature reserve area and some stores. I was nervous about trying to drive around there…I don’t really like driving in the states and there were a lot of one-way streets in that area, plus we had my in-laws minivan so I chose not to venture very far.

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We also went swimming as a family at the hotel where we stayed and on Shabbat afternoon we went to a park that had a playground and a rose garden.

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Malachi was a little sleep deprived on this trip and as such got cranky at times. While we were at the rose garden was one of those times. He was unavailable for pictures.

On our way home we got to drive through the mountains again! Our first night we stayed with some friends in BC and Mali enjoyed playing with his friend whom he had not seen for a long time.

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Don’t they look like they’re having a jolly time?

The next day we continued on our journey home and stopped at a place called Frank Slide in Alberta. This is known as “Canada’s deadliest rockslide”. A huge avalanche of rocks fell down over a town called Frank in 1903 and tragically killed many people. There is an interpretive centre there as well as a trail through the rocks. It’s a very eerie looking place as there are rocks and rocks everywhere.

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We spent another night with Ben’s aunt and uncle on our way home. We don’t get to see them very often so it was nice to visit.  We also visited for a little bit with Ben’s cousin who lives along the way too.

Finally we arrived home.

At first when we were talking about the possibility of going on such a road trip, I thought it might not be a good idea to travel so long in a car with a baby and a three year old. But it turned out to go really well! The boys enjoyed it and we made some good memories together as a family.

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