I woke up and looked around the RV. It was feeling a little on the warm side. I had no idea how long the drive was, what time it was or, where we were. I would have to assume that we were in the Portland, Oregon area. I looked at my watch and we were just shy of 9. I had slept through anything and everything that had happened that morning. I looked at the window and saw houses; we were parked in a regular residential area. This must be the AirBnB house, but which house was the house we would be using for the day? I was going to have to wait until someone came out to the RV to find out which house was ours. The kids were still sound asleep, so I figured I would just step out of the RV and get some air.
First I opened a few windows, not sure how long the kids would be in the RV sleeping, but it was definitely warming up. I opened the door and decided that I would leave the door open and just shut the screen. I stood out on the sidewalk and looked around. “Welcome to Oregon,” I said out loud as I stretched. Today was going to be a good day, I could feel it. Soon enough someone came out to the RV, and I followed them back into the house. Our space was the basement of a house. I was cautioned that people were still sleeping, so I kept myself quiet. There were people on the couches and floor. It was just a small house, only one bedroom, and it was a tight squeeze for the crew that we had. ‘Someone’ had called dibs on the one bedroom, this someone would continue to call dibs on the best sleeping space for the rest of the journey.
In the bathroom, there was a nice, big washer and dryer. I was SO excited! With this great set, I could wash some bigger loads, which means fewer loads. Being that I woke up late, it would be great to get big loads done so that I could head out with our plans for the day. It is hard to explain how excited I get with a great washer and dryer as we are on our 50/50/50 journey. It is one of those things that made my life easier and better, especially with the amount of laundry that accrues in the RV.
We were all looking forward to our day in Oregon. Lily was born in this area, so for her first time, I was going to take her to see the hospital where she was born. Lily is a very emotion filled and sentimental person, so this was very special to her. Also, the LDS Portland temple is right on the way to her hospital, so I planned to stop there as well. The family’s grand plan for the 50/50/50 was to show the kids each state. While James was out on his adventure, we had planned to have some of our own adventures. We tried to plan some things out ahead of time, and often weren’t sure what we were going to do, even after researching it. For the state of Oregon, I had some fun ideas that I was excited to share with the kids. This made me especially excited about this state.
To take Oregon to the next level, we were going to have 2 special guests. James’ sister Sandra Lavery, and her husband Andrew, happened to be in town visiting a friend. What are the odds that they were in the same city, at the same times as us! We were SO, ridiculously excited!!! The are so much fun, so we knew it was going to be a day to remember! The plan was to meet at the children’s museum OMSI for the day. I can’t even emphasize how much we love Sandra and Andrew and how excited we were! James is 5 years older than me, and his other two sisters are older than him. Sandra is 7 years younger than James, so she never had playmates. She and I have always been friends because we are only a couple of years apart. On top of that, my kids are crazy for the Sandrews (what I like to call them), because they are very engaged with the kids.
I wanted to start breakfast, and get things going for the day. I noticed that there was nowhere to cook in this house. Note to self, dinner plans will NOT be AT the house. I went out to the RV to see what we had out there; I opened the fridge and noticed that it was warm. I had bought a whole bunch of food the day before, in Washington, to be prepared for our day in Oregon. It was all going bad. We ate as much of the fridge food as we could, some toast and fruit. Everything else, I put in a backpack to eat during the day, so it wouldn’t go to waste. Why would this fridge not be working? Little did I know at the time, this fridge wouldn’t work the entire 50/50/50.
The 6 of us loaded into the 5 person Mazda 3. We plugged in GPS and headed toward Tualatin. It was a blast from the past to drive down the freeway and remember the landmarks. We hadn’t lived in Oregon for very long, James had a job transfer, but our circumstances were less than ideal, so we ended up moving back to Utah. While I lived there, I tried to experience this place a bit, assuming we would be there much longer. I remembered these landmarks, as we used to frequent them while heading to places for the kids, places like Safari Sam’s.
I exited and headed toward the hospital. My heart began to swell and was filled with love. I remembered being just 22 years old, headed to this hospital, ready to have my second daughter. Lucy was only 15 months at the time that Lily was born, and Lily’s birth was eventful for many reasons. One of which was Lucy having a seizure (she had a high fever), but it created a memorable experience for James. He was driving, had to pull into a fire station, and they transporter Lucy to the hospital, the same hospital where I was delivering Lily. I was in the delivery room, alone, hoping the best for Lucy and for James, since it scared the living daylights out of him. As I reminisced, I was feeling a strong sense of love for this young, 22 year old girl, who was so new to motherhood, life, and ‘she’ had no idea what kinds of speed bumps that she would hit in life.
As we pulled up to the hospital, Lily was smiling and giggling. The other kids were bickering because of the shared seats in the tiny car. I showed her the exact window to the room she was born in. It was just a quick stop because we needed to enjoy our next adventure before it was time for the 5k. We took pictures, argued about who had to share the seat for the next drive, loaded up and we were off.
As we pulled away, again, my heart was so full of gratitude that I am able to have my own babies, and thinking about the true miracle of how a baby grows and comes into this world. This lead me to our next location, the Portland temple. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To us, temples signify eternal families, believing that we are sealed for eternity. I went to this temple often when I lived there. It was nostalgic, but also always special to be there with family. Being there, in it’s majestic beauty, and escaping the 50/50/50 for just 5 minutes was, and always is, special.
Negotiations began again for who was sharing seats in the Mazda. I swear the littles don’t care, but because the older kids care, they pretend to care. Dolly and Quinn are literally inseparable, they have the smallest butts, yet don’t understand that logic of them being the two to share. They want to rotate who is sharing seats, just because everyone else complains. I let them figure it out themselves and only marshall when needed. Now, we are off to play!
We were there about an hour before the Sandrews arrive. We had spent all of that time in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not section. I have always loved Ripley’s and I was thrilled that my kids enjoyed it as much as I did. When the Sandrews arrived, the fun and games began! Laughing, teasing, playing, and nothing but fun. Life was absolute bliss at that moment, and every struggle had been forgotten. I was able to catch my breath as they stepped in as the best aunt and uncle ever. The kids never get tired, and I swear neither do the Sandrews! It had been a perfect day.
When we finished at OMSI, we headed into the city to find the health food store for the 5k. We parked, enjoyed some food from the deli, and waited. Eventually we found out that that same ‘brand’ of health food store is on other blocks, and we were at the wrong one. We laughed as we realized our mistake, being that the phone call with Casey was hilarious in identifying our mistake, we went up to the parking garage, loaded up and had specific directions this time to make sure that we landed at the right place.
When we arrived, there were a lot of people there. I was surprised at the turn out. We had been told by the ambassador that there would be a large group, but we were pleasantly surprised. Our friend Scott Rose was there. He was from our church when we lived in Beaverton, and he came out to run with James for the 5k. I think the Sandrews were a little surprised by how many people were there. Family in Canada didn’t get to ‘feel’ all of the 50 planning, etc, so this was her first exposure to the project, and it did not disappoint. Sandrews changed their clothes and were ready to run the 5k with James and my girls.
This was the first I had seen Brittany that day. Carlee was headed home to Utah, and Natalie got an early start with the drive to California in the Subaru with Aaron. It was a 10.5 hour drive, so James was flying. Aaron and Natalie had left that morning, and driven all day, in order to be there when James’ flight arrived. It was good to get a report of the day from Brittany and have my friend there. It was fun to visit with the people who were there to run the 5k, let the kids run around the parking lot and play in the RV. They were still ecstatic about the RV because so far, we had only had the 1 night drive with this ‘kid dream’ vehicle. They loved to explore and play house every chance they got.
After the 5k, James was trying to move quickly and be efficient. He had to catch his flight to California, and we didn’t want it to be as stressful as our other flight days. He was being whisked away, and I was frantically looking for him! I hadn’t seen him all day! I saw a car pulling out of a parking space and I saw him in the front seat, “Hold on!” I yelled as I ran over to the car. The driver annoyingly tries to explain that they are in a hurry, and doesn’t want to stop for me. After Alaska, there was no way I was letting him leave without a kiss! What if his plane crashed? What if he drowned the next morning? What if he got hit by a car? I was stopping this car! One of the film guys came over to help me get this car to stop. I slammed the hood and said, “STOP!!!!”
James opened the window, I was trying not to break down, sobbing like someone who had just lost a loved one. I kissed him, “Great job, my love! See you in the morning. I love you forever and ever.” That 30 seconds was all that I needed, as his wife, of 14 years, with the man I married, James Lawrence, NOT the Iron Cowboy.
Off they drove to the airport, and I felt my heart go with him. Why couldn’t we just be together? This was the fourth day where I didn’t get to be with him, or see him almost at all! I was literally granted just minutes with him since this journey had started. I knew he was in such a rough place, and I wanted to be there for him. We had spent 14 years leaning on each other through hardship, and now he was experiencing the hardest event of his life, and I did not get to be there for him.
We gave hugs to Sandra and Andrew as we prepared to leave. We sent them back to Canada and we prepped to drive to California. There was a 10.5 drive, through the night tonight, and it was my turn to drive the RV.