We have FINALLY left for our 5 week excursion. And just look at the view as we pass Peoria. This post will be a little longer as I have a little catch up from the last few days. What well thought out, highly planned, painfully organized trip would not be a vacation without a few last minute hiccups to make sure we could roll with the punches and laugh a little or a lot? Let me explain..,.So as we were doing a run through of loading scenarios earlier in the week, my ever so enthusiastic and strong daughter managed to unhinge and break the house front door handle. And not just a little tighten the screw WD40 break, but a full replacement of the front door handle and system. Okay, so I guess we needed to make sure no wanders thought our home had an open welcome mat while we were gone. It also gave my mom and dad (at different times) the opportunity to assist in the repair process. But then, the kitchen sink backed up filling the dishes with dirty water through the dishwasher. Four bottles of Drano later and some new “plunging” muscles, the repair was fixed. If not adequate, I’m sure my dad will tinker with it as he does love home fix-it projects. Did I mentioned the coffee maker exploded over the weekend? The replacement arrived today before we left and a shout out to Bunn for excellent customer service. Shall I continue? After an informative discussion with the family chiropractor, we scheduled a complete blood draw for my eldest daughter complaining of lightheadedness, headaches, sleepiness and forgetfulness (that’s exactly what we DON’T need in the middle of the wilderness!) Still waiting results but no more symptoms thus far. And to complete the week, my son informs me Tuesday afternoon that his throat felt sore. Thinking very little of it, we go shopping for last minute items. In the middle of Target he lies down and informs me his whole throat feels like it’s closing up. So I pull out out my iPhone flashlight (love this feature) and what I saw, caused my face to grimace. Bright redish purple patches of discolored skin splattered the back of his throat. Yikes! Looks a lot like strep but it really was dark in color. Ugggh….are you kidding? So we go home and I pull up (on the internet) all home remedies to cure/relieve strep symptoms until I can get him to a med check in the morning, all the while hoping and praying it’s not the poison ivy he contracted last weekend while shooting his bow and arrow. So as any good mom, I had my child eat raw garlic cloves, suck on toast soaked with apple cider vinegar and drink copious amounts of licorice root tea (yes I had it on hand) with cayenne, lemon and honey. Let me tell you, he will never complain about warm salt water again! Little did I know, he DID NOT have strep and I was burning the heck out of his mouth with all the spice but this would not be revealed until the next morning when the doctor informed me confidently after neg strep culture that he had a viral infection called Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease. What? I thought that was a little kids illness. Good gravy- viral! You mean no antibiotics and highly contagious? Awesome. Anything else I should plan for? This week has been filled with lots of challenges. Satan may try to steal our joy and for a couple hours, he certainly came close, but in the end we put out trust and full confidence in Christ. There were so many blessings revealed before this trip. The Holy Spirit put this crazy idea in my husbands head and though there have been some moments (on my end), a little fear, and ALOT of doubt, we are on the journey together as a family-healthy, sick and on the mend.