Our journey through 2009 is coming to an end.
It was at this point, in October, that the Lord chose to bless us by answering a deep prayer of our parent hearts...for finally...after two years...our oldest son and child...
...Joshua was coming home for a visit and bringing his lovely bride, Jennifer!!!
We had already enjoyed a wonderful visit with Jen in October and November of 2008 while Josh was deployed to the Middle East.
Now we were to have them both for the first time together in our home as husband and wife; son and daughter to us!
This was just the beginning of a busy twenty days. We arrived home from Chicago with our 'precious cargo' to get the van pack for a trip to VA. The extended family had not yet met Jennifer. We were delighted to be able to be there to share in this exciting time!
Our first stop on the way east was the Creation Museum. This is a favorite place to visit for Josh and he wanted to share it with his bride. If you have not been it is well worth the trip!
Back at ya, Pete!
Lunch (pizza and wraps) was very reasonable and yummy.
Back to more touring of the museum...
"Ah, aren't you so adorable!"
Mom thinks you are adorable!
Dinosaurs are everywhere!
Josh with his head being bitten...and smiling, hmmm! These look like 'prehistoric' coffee ads. Even Jen got in on it!!
Just like big sister. "Ah, you are so cute too!"
The Creation Museum now has a petting zoo. It was a bit chilly but we had to check it out.
So instead of kissing the cute dinosaurs, Nathan is being kissed by a zekey or a donbra. We will let you figure that one out.
Melinda tried the 'kissing thing' with the cow and got a kiss back! Here are the before and after!!
One of the surprise highlights of our visit to the Creation Museum was getting to visit with the founder and president, Ken Ham.
From there we headed to Gramma and Papa's house in Mechanicsville, VA (outside of Richmond).
After a quick dinner we headed to cousin Travis' homeschool football game. It was raining but fun. Unfortunately, Travis broke his ankle in the second half of the game. He still joined us the next day...
...when we all arose early and headed to Williamsburg for the best breakfast in town at the Old Chickahominy House. Being re-joined with Uncle Mark, Aunt Pam (K. sister), Jordan, and Travis as well as Uncle Scott (K. brother) and Aunt Michelle.
Gramma had learned a month before that the Von Trapp Singers were going to be at the Yankee Candle Factory. So, with Jennifer in the know, we surprised Joshua with this performance. These are the great-grandchildren of the Captain and Maria Von Trapp. And do they sing good. Check them out on the web vontrappchildren.com The dresses that the girls are wearing were actually Maria's. Pretty cool!
From there we headed to Colonial Williamsburg for a late lunch at Kings Arms Tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street. While we waited we were entertained by Fifes and Drums.
Kings Arms placed us all into a little room that had just enough seats. The tables circled the walls so we were all very close quartered.
Two love birds... well, maybe not......
Yea, definitely so!!
Special 'bonding time' with big brother!
What is Williamsburg without gingerbread cookies! Mom loves these cookies!
Here Melinda is getting the 'look' from her Papa...probably for a snarly comment about the cookies, she doesn't like them much. Wonder if the little sister are getting the same talk, hmmm.
Uncle John, Aunt Peggy (B. sister), and Cary joined us for a brief visit to meet Jennifer on their way home from Meme and Granddad's house.
Three generations on Mom's side.
Josh and Jen receiving an heirloom wedding present from Papa and Gramma.
Off to church we go... the children had been asked a month before to sing during the morning worship. They sang Rock of Ages with Melinda playing.
The choir director was so moved by them she asked us all to come back to participate in a special music program that evening which had been planned for months. We were humbled and honored to do so.
Gramma made a special request that we sing It is Well.
We made her cry.
Between the two services we went to visit G.G.
(Katherine's 91 year old grandmother)
Once the evening program was done we headed to spend a few days with Meme and Granddad at Oldhams in what is called the Northern Neck of VA.
Here Jen and Josh receive another wedding present; a beautiful handmade quilt.
The next day the fun begins...go-cart rides
Dominoes- Sanford style. Uncle Richard (B. bro) even got in a game.
Visiting with the great-aunts (Meme's sisters; Liz and Lee)
Singing for everyone who comes to visit!
THE PHOTO SHOOT
Sue Taylor of the family line for whom T. Garrison was named.
How high can you go!
Domination...who is stronger...big bro or little bros!
Jen has an old friend that lives outside of Baltimore. We too had the privilege of getting to know Kelly as she was one of Jen's bridesmaids. So Josh, Jen, Dad, Mom, and Melinda went up for a quick visit.
For fun Kelly took us horseback riding on Fresians. These are huge horses!!! Dad did not ride but took pictures and helped the staff to videotape our ride for a commercial. Kinda cool!!
The guys had fun at dinner.
Three generations of Sanford sons.
Three generations of Sanford wives.
We returned home to the...
~REFORMATION DAY FAIRE~
We had a full house over the weekend. The Duffs and friends from Nebraska stayed with us.
That next week was hard for Josh as he came down with the flu. Jen was a fantastic nurse! It was a bummer as they had lots of plans but God...
However, he was well enough by Saturday to go to a paintball game. Here the gang gathers for dinner and fellowship after the big game. As well as Peter's new look thanks to a well placed shot!
This was also a time for visiting with our missionary to the Philippines, Carl Henderson.
All good things must come to an end. Time to send Josh and Jen back to Italy...
At the airport, our last meal together eating some "good smelling, yummy tasting, bad for you food!"
The finally good-byes. (We will know in February whether in September the US Air Force will be sending them to a base in the States or another one overseas.)
~~It is at this point in the year that we began our blog!! For November and most of December you can peruse those blog posts...then return here for the Candlelight Service and Christmas celebrating our Saviors birth.~~
On December 23rd, our church was beautifully lite with candles adding to the reverence of the Lessons and Carols Service.
Dad and Mom singing Lo, How a Rose with David and Anna Price (bro and sis).
Melinda with Aaron, Jessica, Josiah, Seirra, and Ashton singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
With beautiful clear and lovely tone, Melinda sang verse one of Silent Night.
After the beautiful Candlelight service, fellowship and food...this is something Providence does very well!
...the bride to be and her bridesmaids.
Christmas Eve. It is our tradition to open one present that evening...can you guess what it is?
Garrison joins us for family worship and we join him in opening his gifts.
Happy Birthday, Jesus!!
After traveling through beautiful driving falling snow, we ended the day by celebrating Jesus' Birthday with our friends the McDonalds.
Games and food...lots of food!!
Let it snow! Our first really deep snowfall. Adrianna had fun decorating our trees.
The year comes to a close with you guessed it Providence fellowship and food...
Even Garrison showed up for the party!
Happy New Year!!
And may the Lord richly bless your 2010!