Thursday, July 31, 2008

For now

This is what you get for now. A#1 has been busy as he leaves in just over a week for college so until I can get him to sit down with me to put more pictures on, this is what I've got. I could go ahead and post some pictures but it really would not do any good because I don't know what I'm looking at or where for that matter. Did that make any sense? Oh well, here we go.

He did not know we were coming to D.C. to pick him up. It took over 1 1/2 hours for them to get thru customs once they landed so we were thrilled when he finally walked thru those doors. I do believe he was a little excited to see us too. At least it looks that way and that makes a mom feel good. Can you imagine being in the U.K for 3 weeks and only having that suitcase? Me either. That wouldn't even cover the shoes, right Leslie?
A#1 in his Scotland hat that apparently he wore for days and all the way home. This is two of his lifelong buddies, Sara and Sarah. Applause to Sarah because she came running up to me in the airport to let me know she had taken LOTS of pictures of A#1. THANK YOU!!!!!

A bunch of tired and weary travelers that are ready to be home.

Another lifelong buddy, Ms. F. These two have traveled the world together. They have been to Australia together and now this trip. She means a great deal to our family and especially to this mom. When you send your child thousands of miles away with someone else, you trust and respect them a great deal, as if you are trusting them with your own life. THANK YOU!!!! We love you and could never thank you for everything you have done for our boy. We prayed so hard for you all and are so grateful to you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

England Part 2

Winchester Cathedral and it is beautiful!!!!!
A#1 at Stonehenge. Not long ago my sister and I were coming home from UVA and we passed by "FoamHenge". I guess that's as close as I'll ever get to the real thing. Not A#1, he had the chance to see the real thing.

He had lots of stories to tell us as far as why this is here and what it means.

A#1 and Henry the VIII. Imagine our son having lunch with "royalty".

The Royal Gaurds doing their "wet change". The day they were here it rained a months worth of rain in one day. A#1 was a little bummed to not see them do their regular changing of the guards but he said at least he got to see them.

The queen's humble abode. She was actually in the palace on this day. We know this because her flag was flying ( another lesson we have learned).

Big Ben. You can tell how much it's raining from this shot.

The Eye of London in the rain. What yucky weather but it did not stop them. That thing is HUGE!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008


These are just a few of the hundreds of pictures that A#1 took while in the U.K. We will share more as the week goes by. ENJOY!!!!

Standing on the Prime Meridian This is the basis for the International Time Zone System.

So who do you think has the more serious look, A#1 or the Royal Guard? He thought these guys were very cool and did their job well.

Trying on some armour at the Tower of London.

The group all dressd up because of their meeting with the member of Parliament. What an honor!

A#1 and Jessica on the Eye of London. At least he got a cute one to ride with!!! ;)

The ruins of the Salisbury Castle. I. Love. This. Picture.!!!!

And this is my favorite!!!!!! Wouldn't you think it is cool to actually sit here and have lunch? That's what they did.
Wait until you see the rest of the pictures!!!! I'm so excited I can't stand myself.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thank you Lord!!!

Our boy is home and he's safe and sound. We have had the best talks with him and haved loved hearing all about the trip. Goodness did he have a great time! It's about 10:30 p.m. here and we've only been home about one hour and we are all exhausted :( I'm still not sure how A#1 is functioning right now. For the moment we are off to sleep and hopefully it will last until very late in the morning. Thanks for your prayers!!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oxford and then home!!!!

The city skyline of Oxford is where A#1 has spent today after their exploration of the Warwick castle. From here they will be making their way back toward England and then onto a plane saturday to come home!!!!! We are so excited to see him and hear all about his trip and especially to see the kilt ;) Thanks to you all who kept up with him on this blog and remember, it's not to late to leave a comment for him to see. We're off in the morning to pick up our boy and visit with some family. Have a blessed weekend!!!! Pray for safe travels.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How cool is that?

This is where A#1 is spending tonight while the rest of us sleep in our humble little homes in the burg. Warwick castle is the final stop for his group and it will be an awesome adventure. They will be sleeping outside on the grounds in a medieval tent and I'm sure they will be good and tired because of the busy day they have planned. It is to include jousting, sword fights, dancing, catapults and exploring the castle grounds.If I know A#1 he will explore every inch possible. I think he is excited about the Blacksmith shop and getting to test his tools out.

This will probably be a favorite as well. Due to the costume and the jousting stick. Lord help us if he tries to bring one fo those home. When he came home from Australia he got off the plane carrying a dijerredoo (spelling?) so nothing would surprise me.

Goodness how cool is that? I do believe I could handle spending the night here. How about you?
By the way, I spoke to A#1 yesterday and he sounded great. They were leaving Scotland and when I asked him how cool it was he said," let's just say I'm wearing a kilt as we travel tomorrow Mom. I bought it and wait until you see it. All of the other guys were supposed to wear theirs but they all chickened out except for me and Sean."
I ask you again, HOW COOL IS THAT?!!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I know this is not the best picture but it's the best I could do in such a hurry. A#1 is spending his day here as it's their last day in Scotland. I absolutley cannot wait to see his pictures. Hopefully this time he will have alot with him actually in them unlike his trip to Australia ;)
We are planning to pick him up in D.C. this saturday instead of waiting for him to get all the way home on that bus. It can't come fast enough. Please continue to pray that the rest of his travels will be safe and he will come home to us in one piece.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Today in Scotland

A#1 arrived in Scotland on Sunday evening and has been on the fast track ever since. Yesterday they went white water rafting down the River Tay. How cool is that? So today they are busy looking for Nessie!!!! He is in Pitlochry Scotland and the search is on. After they find Nessie they will be moving on to a Scottish highland village where they will be meeting all of the locals and helping with the sheepdogs as well as shearing some sheep. I still can't believe the things he is witnessing and taking part in. We received a postcard from him yesterday and he said he was working very hard on his journal so he can share all of the details when he makes it home. We are missing him very badly and can't wait to get one of his big ole hugs.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Heard from A#1

We talked to him on Thursday evening as he arrived back in Wales. They all had trouble with their phone cards in Ireland for some reason. He sounds so great and was having a "cool time". Yesterday was very awesome for them all according to the latest email. We're in MD for a wedding and will be home in a few days. Please pray for my cousin Rachael and her family as today was one year ago that her beautiful daughter Hannah went to Heaven. They are having a wonderful celebration in her memory today that is full of fancy Hannah things. We love you and are praying for you all!!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I would love to give you an update on the son but we have not heard from him since Sunday but I do know that he is somewhere in Bangor Ireland. Praying we will hear from him today. We are leaving Hatteras Island and heading up the coastline. Hate to leave as I now have a new favorite beach. It is GORGEOUS!!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Next week

Well here's A#1's schedule for the next week just in case I don't get to post. Take a look at some of the places online and check out what he'll be seeing. Especially check out the castles. Hope you all have a wonderful week. The Blaine's are off to the ocean ;)

Sunday July 13 2008
• Say good-bye to your home stay family and re-join your delegation.
• Visit the beautiful city of Bath – home to Britain’s only natural hot spring. With
waters flowing at a constant temperature of 115 degrees F. The Celtic King
Bladud discovered the Royal Baths in 860 BC. He realized the spring’s curative
powers by imitating his pigs and rolling around in the hot mud!
• Explore Cardiff Castle, a remarkable structure whose history also spans nearly
2000 years. Originally a Roman fort, Norman invaders built a castle keep (the
main tower and stronghold of a castle) within the Roman ruins in the 12th
century. Climb to the top of the keep for a breathtaking view of the city of Cardiff.
Monday July 14 2008
• Journey along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path to Fishguard, and catch the ferry
across the Irish Sea to the land of saints and scholars! Arrive this afternoon at
the “Emerald Isle” and the city of Waterford.
• Waterford probably sounds familiar, as it is world-renowned for its crystal. You
will be able to observe all stages of the crystal-manufacturing process, including
the highly skilled crafts of glass blowing and engraving.
Tuesday July 15 2008
• At Blarney Castle little remains of Blarney Castle except the castle keep (the
main tower and stronghold of a castle), built in 1446. Climb the 127 steps of the
keep to take part in the long-standing tradition of kissing the Blarney stone.
• After you have kissed the stone, walk across the street to examine Blarney’s
famous Woollen Mill, where you will find Irish arts, crafts and linens.
Wednesday July 16 2008
You need to wear appropriate footwear and clothing today as you will get very
wet and muddy during some of the activities on the farm. We advise you wear
your oldest clothes and tennis shoes for this activity.
• Immerse yourself into Ireland’s country life as you become “Irish for a day”. While
enjoying the lush Meath countryside, learn about traditional Irish sports, farming
and music. Meet an Irish farming family who also happen to be traditional Irish
musicians. Take part in a turf cutting demonstration and learn how to make
traditional Irish soda bread!
Thursday July 17 2008
• Explore Ireland’s capital city of Dublin. Encounter such famous landmarks as St.
Patrick’s Cathedral, Phoenix Park, Trinity College and statue-lined O’Connell
• The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) Museum explains the traditional Irish
sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling and you will learn how it played a pivotal
role in modern Irish history.
• Immerse yourself in Dublin's culture and tradition by completing the 'Famous
Dubliners' interactive quiz. A great way to discover the city.
• Make your way to the Ferry port where your ferry will take you over to Wales.
• Encounter the village that boasts one of the world’s longest station names:
Friday July 18 2008
• Today is all about challenge, excitement and energy! Get ready for a day full of
adventure and personal growth through interactive and challenging workshops
led by the Full On team. You will have the opportunity to learn leadership skills,
set personal goals and step outside your comfort zone. Conquer FEAR by
abseiling 70 feet off a tower wall at Penrhyn Castle!
Saturday July 19 2008
• Travel to Llanberis, a quaint village at the foot of Mount Snowdon, once the slate
quarrying capital of the world and the ancestral home of Thomas Jefferson. Visit
the Welsh Slate Museum, followed by a short walk to the spectacular site of
Dolbadarn castle, the last refuge of the Welsh princes.
• Continue along the spectacular Llanberis Pass to the village of Beddgelert. Learn
about the legends of Arthur and Merlin connected with this beautiful and
mysterious valley.
• Visit Conway, one of the finest medieval walled towns in Europe, dominated by
Edward Longshanks' magnificent castle. Take a short battlement walk and
admire the views around you!
• Take a tram ride up to the Great Orme Copper Mine. One of the country’s most
important archaeological sites, the mine dates back over 3000 years to the
Bronze Age. During the orientation, gain valuable insight into the time-honored
mining and smelting process.
• During your time in Wales, you may notice the distinct Welsh language. In some
areas, it is still the primary language and today you will learn some basic phrases
in this Celtic language.


A#1 will be taking in this view today. I have been looking at some info on Stonhenge and never knew just how old it is. Some people believe it dates back as far as 3100 B.C. ! That's some kinda old. He made it safe and sound to his homestay family and they are very busy with them today.
The only thing on their schedule for today and tomorrow is Stonhengs and whatever the homestay family has planned for them. Hopefully even more adventure. His delegate leader sent an email saying that Andover was absolutley gorgeous.
On a different note, we will be leaving saturday for vacation and I am not sure about computer access. Later today I will post A#1 schedule for next week in case I can't blog while away. You will miss me right?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Keeping you posted

*Edited again- Just talked to A#1 on the phone and he said he was doing GREAT!!! He said the London Eye was so cool and so big. He also said he was so looking forward to Ireland. I think everything he has seen so far is just making him more excited about what's to come.

* Just received this email. sounds like they are having a BLAST!!! I pray the rain will stop. Please pray that A#1 will have a wonderful homestay family and they will welcome him. Also pray for his traveling as they move from London to Andover.

\hi ALL
we rode the london eye today and met our parliament member... pm they call him.
we are getting ready to go to our homestays this evening after a 2 hour bus ride to andover. The students are having a wonderful time and are being wonderful ambassadors.... if you don't hear from any tonight, please don't be concerned, the homestay family may keep them busy this evening...

yesterday we had a very busy day, but wonderful! We did everything in the rain, they say it was one of the worst rainy days london has every had, but it did not stop us from seeing as much of it as we could... we got to see where bond has his drinks... m5? we got to see the tower of london where things were not always so pleasant, we saw the crown jewels... it was amazing.... we cruised on the thames and went to see a musical version of the lord of the rings... it was truly different!!!!

we will see stonehenge tomorrow! more soon.... you may send a fax to any of the hotels if you want to just reach out to your student... put my name and your students name on the fax and we will make sure they get it! They are learning alot about how the world is so different, but yet so much the same....

see you soon... more soon!!
Donna and all the gang!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fun times!!

That's the River Thames and that big round scary thing is the London Eye. A#1 will be on that big round scary thing today. Remember when I asked for your prayers? This is one of those times.

Here is his schedule for the day-

Thursday July 10 2008
Remember you are meeting an official today, so plan on dressing up.
• Meeting with a current or former Member of Parliament. This unique opportunity
explores the British Constitution and discusses the respective roles of the House
of Commons, the House of Lords and the Monarch, a true honor for Student
• Ride on the London Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in the world. This astonishing
443 ft high ride provides a fantastic panoramic view of the city.
• You may have time to stroll Covent Garden, with its shops and cafes. Residents
and street entertainers of every vocation throng through the Piazza.
• Today you will meet your home stay family and be welcomed in your new English

Today in London

Here's the schedule for A#1 for today-

Wednesday July 9 2008
• Discover London with a Blue Badge Guide.
• This morning you will make your way to Buckingham Palace to view the precisely
choreographed Changing of the Guard.
• Join Henry VIII for a Medieval Banquet lunch.
• Explore the must-see Tower of London. As a prison, it confined such famous
prisoners as Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh.
• Meet the Yeoman Warders “Beefeaters,” who guard the tower and are caretakers
of the mysterious ravens. Legend has it that if the ravens ever leave the Tower,
the Kingdom will fall!
• Cruise the River Thames taking in many of the city’s famous sights.
• This evening, experience London’s well-known theater scene by attending a
performance of one of London’s most popular shows.

That's right, he'll be visiting the queens' pad. Maybe she'll send me a little bling home just for the heck of it. Please pray that they will all be safe today and that A#1 will fill his mind with memories of this day.
I do have another prayer request that is very important. Yesterday our church lost a very important member in our family. We still do not know if it was due to a massive heart attack or what but his family needs lots of prayer. He was not married but does have 3 daughters that are hurting very badly right now. His youngest is only 12 and he has had custody of her for the last 4 years or so and there was no one like her Daddy in her life. Please pray for Karen, Kaitlyn and Kelsey. Your prayers are coveted.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Safe and sound

*Edited- 3:30 p.m. just talked to A#1 and he is wore out. He said they had a really good day but he was super tired. He was unable to get much sleep on the plane and if you know A#1 you know that he is not a sleeper anyway. He said they have a busy day for tomorrow and he was looking forward to it. Dinner was good and he was going back to his room to turn in for the evening.Pray that he will receive the rest that he needs.

He made it!!! Praise the Lord, he made it. We got our phone call at 2:30 a.m. and they were in London. I could hear all of the kids in the background and they were so excited! Hopefully we will speak to A#1 himself today but with him you never know. It was around 7:30 a.m. London time so their day was just getting started. Here's what they are doing today-
Tuesday July 8 2008
• Welcome to England! Introductions to your People to People delegation manager
and motor coach driver mark the commencement of your program.
• Visit the John F. Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede. It was here in 1215, that
King John sealed the Magna Carta. As you may remember from history class,
the Magna Carta forms the basis of England’s present constitution.
• We have planned a special first day in England, which we will reveal on your
arrival! Learn about the Druids, how the Romans influenced Britain's history and
how Londoners coped with the German bombs during WWII in this amazing
• If time allows, we will visit Greenwich best known for its maritime history and
giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0% longitude and Greenwich Mean
Time). Step forward or back in time as you cross the Meridian in Greenwich Park
before travelling on to your hotel.

WOW sounds like fun doesn't it? I'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 7, 2008

He's on his way

*Edited- Got word that they are in the air. Their flight was scheduled for 6:40 but it was 7 before they were even on the runway. Please pray as he will be flying all night- we should probably hear from them around 3 a.m. when they land.

Well he's not on the palne yet but he will be at 6:30 this evening. He's making his way to D.C. as we speak and boy is he excited!!!! A few of the women in his life we shedding some tears as we watched them leave but we are happy for him. Look out London, there's a Blaine heading your way. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!!!

From our house to yours, we hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th of July. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The count down begins

In just a matter of days A#1 will be laying his eyes upon yet another wonderful sight in this world. He will be arriving in London on Monday for his 3 week trip to Europe. He is really looking forward to Big Ben and Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards. I will try my best to keep you posted on his journey everyday. In the meantime, please pray for a safe trip and that the Lord will guide him all the way!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

And some more

Going to church Sunday morning after the cookout was a blast. We actually got 17 people up showered and to church ON TIME!!!! Doesn't everyone look nice?
Two of the amigos with A#3 all dressed up and ready to go.

Remember the best friends in the whole wide great ole big world? They were part of the 17. Les even sang a solo for us all to enjoy. Even when put on the spot, she came thru for us and even more so for the Lord. Your are "AMAZING". Can I just say how much I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!


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