Monday, November 24, 2014

Seattle Send-Off

It's so hard to believe it's been almost two months since we got back from Seattle!
Now that we've returned to something of a new "normal" around our house and all my pictures have been downloaded and I can talk about the trip without tears streaming down my face...

Wednesday, September 24 we awoke at 2:45 am to begin our adventure to Seattle.
We rented this monstrosity of a vehicle! We had it loaded and were driving away by 3:45.
(Dom's friends, the twins, came to say good-bye. So sweet!)
We had hoped that leaving so early would increase our chances of The Littles going back to sleep for a while.
Those kids didn't sleep a wink the whole 36 hours we were on the road over the course of the trip.
It was pretty amazing though...we all (except Dom who was smart and DID sleep) got to watch the sunrise together.
And experience some amazingly beautiful views.
Here they are...jammies and all. We put The Littles in the second seat, within arms reach.
Dominic got his own row to spread out and sleep comfortably ;)
I had spent a considerable amount of time preparing for the long car ride and had put together a box of things/activities the kids had never seen before. We pulled from the box regularly to keep them busy, in addition to hours of movie watching.
Here they are with "special detective glasses" on to help them find everything on their travel Bingo pages. Dominic played too and I was surprised when he asked, "How come I don't get glasses?"
P.S. I'm doing a separate post on car activities sometime soon.
That Wednesday we arrived at our planned destination in Portland at 4:30 pm.
That was a LONG 14 hours on the road!
I do have to say though that everyone was in really good moods and excited for the journey.
The most complaining we heard was from The Littles in regards to when we could pull another activity from "the special box."
After checking into our hotel I took Connor and Emma to the pool for a swim, we all went to dinner, and were asleep by 8:30. I'm surprised we lasted that long! (However Emmy did fall asleep in the booth at dinner. Poor girl was wiped out!)
We were up early the next morning and made it to SPU by 11:30 am. (Only 4 hours of driving!!)
Seattle welcomed us with rain, to Dominic's delight.
We immediately found his dorm and started moving him in.
Let me tell you...old narrow streets, lots of hills, a van the size of a small bus, 1 excited college student, 2 rambunctious kids, 2 numb parents, and rain...make for an interesting combination!

But we were welcomed by a community ready to help and excited for us to be there!
Dominic's roommate was just finishing unpacking when we arrived.
After getting everything from the van to Dominic's room, Jeff took the kids to release some energy while Dominic and I unpacked.
I never lived in a dorm myself and regardless of everyone else's experiences (good or bad), it was one of which I had always wished I could have had.
So exciting that Dominic gets this experience!
Jeff and the kids returned for some pictures before we ventured off to find lunch. 
The hallway...
and kitchen on his floor...
Main floor lobby...
And let's take just a minute to appreciate how beautiful the campus is...

We stopped at this one particular spot on campus where if you stand right in the middle of the bricks on the ground and clap, you hear a squeak.
I know it sounds weird but it's actually kinda cool.
And every time we walked through here the kids had to stop and clap. So funny!
The next few hours we juggled energetic Littles and getting Dominic all settled in with things like his student ID, figuring out the best way to get all his textbooks and trying to get his mailbox open!
We did have some time to kill before an official welcome so Dominic walked us down to the canal close to the school. It was so pretty! It was here that I started to love Seattle.
(Side note: This is the one school that Dominic had visited alone.
Neither Jeff or I had ever been.)

There was a lot of "killing time" while waiting for this or that.
There was really only so much exploring that could be done.

Jeff, Emmy and I were fighting colds so Jeff and I started chugging Airborne in between engagements. No time for sickness!
There were a lot of events for parents and families on Thursday and Friday, most of which were speeches done by administrators or faculty on topics such as campus security, "Empty Nesting," etc...
This particular one was a formal indoctrination. It was such a nice welcome!
At the end, all of the faculty formed a circle around the perimeter of the floor and the students were asked to fill in the middle.

 We prayed over the students and then each of them were handed a pin.
"SPU*Engaging the Culture*Changing the World"
I was doing alright emotionally at this point, until Emma Kate, standing in front of me, looked up and said through teary eyes, "Mommy, I'm going to miss him!"
I lost it. Tears streamed down my face. That lump formed in my throat that had been there every time over the past year in which I had envisioned this event. And for a moment, time stood still. The craziness of all of the traveling paused. Dominic was all moved in. The parent programs were done. We would leave this building and say good-bye  see you soon. 
I was excited.
I was sad.
And I realized my Littles were feeling the same way.
(Here 2 months later, it still makes me teary.)

*It helped to know that we would be back one more time Sunday morning to go to church with him before leaving Seattle.*

We took a few minutes to get some family photos before we left.
And Sunday after church it was a little rough saying good-bye.
Dominic, you are SO prepared for this. It's not always going to be easy and you may get a little home sick. But we will always be here to be your support and sounding board. 
Go forth.
Make a difference.
Develop relationships.
Give thanks.
And every once in a while, stop and really soak it all in.
The time goes really fast!

-Love your biggest cheerleader,