Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday morning saw us meeting up with friends in Bloomington. Here we left our cars and all piled into a fifteen passenger van ready to head up to the Rockford area. 'Twas indeed a pleasant, albeit loud, ride up. There was music from the Scarlet Pimpernel, Christmas music, and something else that slips my mind, playing in the background; and there was a whole lot of excited chatter filling the air and as we eagerly waited for our van to arrive at it's destination.

Due to weather conditions and traffic, we arrived a little later than planned and rushed inside to change as quickly as possible. Then we climbed back into the van and rushed over to the train station. We clambered onto the train and walked through, oh eight to ten cars until we made it to the last car where we were finally able to relax for an hour and a half whilst we made our way to the Windy City...yes, Chicago was our destination!

This year, we were finally able to make it to the Do-It-Yourself Messiah at the Civic Opera House! We were so thrilled to be able to make it this year and are so grateful to the Erbers for opening up their home to us that night, and very deeply thankful to our deacon's wife, who was our Mother-Hen for the trip, and our wonderful driver! Now, here are a few (okay, so there are about 32 photos...too many?) pictures which might give you a peek into our trip...

The excited back-seaters on our trip up to the Northern parts.
Among some rather unhealthy snacks for lunch, we also had fresh fruit. :)

Window art...artist unknown...

Mel and Meli (a.k.a. Melissa and Melinda) waiting in the train station. We were so thankful for the heat lamps above us!

We crammed as many people as we could into the metal covering...all trying to stay warm. :)

My darling, sweet, good, warm, squishy, cute, adorable, fun nephew! I could go on... ;)

The gentlemen in our group: My brother, Caleb, Peter, and Ashton took their seats on the second story.

Just look outside!! Looks like a scene from White Christmas.

Melissa and Anna (Thanks for taking the picture, Daniel!).

Caleb wondering when and what we're going to eat. :)

Our car was filled with people in our party. I think there were 70+ people. Trying to stay together through the train station and Chicago proved to be quite humorous.

Jonathan E. sat with members of our Providence group.

Yes, Anna slept on the train...

Rushing through busy, windy Chicago...


Ahhh...we finally reached our destination, all together, in one piece, and quite pleased that we accomplished such a task. :)

A picture?

Awww...that's much better!

Some of the mob outside the Opera House. We sang Christmas carols for a while until we ran out of them...

*sigh* What a beautiful sight!

Yes, I know this one is dark...but isn't he just so cute?!?

Caleb and his (er, rather, William's) pal, Peter. :)

The R&B Sisters at the top of the opera house....

Oh...did that make it on here... :)

Hey...the guys in our party are down there...you see them? It's kind of like finding Waldo...his name is Waldo, isn't it?

The conductor. Before the music began, we started to wonder if he was a comedian, or a conductor...
Sitting in the soprano section, even though some of us really don't sing soprano...

Watching more cars on the run back to the train station.

Back on the train!

The Providence Party the next morning...don't we look tired...

The Providence Party with the Erber children...thanks so much for letting us invade your home!

On the drive home there were phone calls to be made to ensure family members of our safety, location, and ETA. We are so grateful to Mrs. Sanford for putting up with us and driving us! It was an unforgettable two days and we love you!

We arrived safe and sound back in Bloomington where our "bus" dropped us off. Half of the group from our house went on home and the other half went grocery shopping (and coffee hunting) and then made our way back home, trying to get there in time to prepare for the candlelight service that evening.

After narrowly escaping a bad accident, the Lord saw fit to deliver us safely home where we found out the service was being canceled due to the icy road conditions...having just driven through it, I wasn't surprised. Poor Ashton was not able to make it home, so he camped out here for the night, which also gave him the opportunity to join us for family worship and to play Guesstures with our family! Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of that, so I'll sign off.

May you all have a joyous Christmas this year as we celebrate not only the birth of our Savior, but His life, His sacrifice, and His unwavering love for His people! Merry Christmas!


  1. Michelle10:05 AM

    Thanks for the pictures!
    The civic opra house looks huge and awesome.:)

  2. Hey Tiff! Looks like y'all had a wonderful time! :) Wish I could have been there, but hey, what can beat the 75 degree weather here?!?! ;) Can't wait to see y'all! Love ya!

  3. Looks like you guys had a wonderful time... I was so proud of myself! I recognized most of the people from your pictures!! woohoo!!! =P snow snow snow... oh how we long for a "White Christmas" here in California, like you have in Illinois, but at the same time some of us are praying for the few icy patches that we have to melt, and the temperature to rise back to the mid 60s. Is this contradiction possible?

    Merry Christmas!

  4. I really love the new avatar photo! Joshua is so cute!

    **laughing** Loud, I am sure that was an understatement! That group would have a very difficult time being quiet...

    32 photos, that is not so many, would that be around 32,000 words worth? (Maybe the photo of the window art is only worth about 850 words...)

    That has to be the first time I have ever heard someone referred to as "squishy"! From the photo, the other adjectives are undoubtable.

    Two story trains! Those look quite fun. We have ones with two levels, but not the interesting balconies.

    The Opera House is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen! All the gold and red, and the lights! Did they have a chandelier? Hopefully they did!

    Oh, does Joshua sing soprano?

    Ha! Everyone is on a cellphone, that is great! Except, I can't see Caleb in the back, was he making important calls too?

    I am certainly glad to hear that you avoided an accident. That would have put a bit of a dampener on Christmas....

    Yes, from the pictures, it would appear to have been a very delightful trip. It surely must have put you in a festive mood.

    May your Christmas wishes return to you tenfold!

    Merry Christmas Eve!


  5. Looks like you had a wonderful time!:)
    The opera house looks absolutely beautiful, what a special thing to do...
    I'm sure you will never forget it.
    Tiffany, Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." -Matthew 1:21

    Praise the Lord for Jesus!

    Blessings in Him,
    Miss Jen

  6. Oh, I'm so glad you were all able to make it up for the Messiah! You were wonderful guests and are welcome to come up and visit anytime you'd like to! Ahhh, if we had only known that the evening service was going to be cancelled we could have kept you up here longer...

    I'm sorry I wasn't feeling well enough to visit with you all more in the morning. We ARE getting together sometime after the new year, RIGHT? :-)

    I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

  7. Michelle,

    The opera house was most beautiful! It was a delightful experience and one we'll never forget.


    We did have a lovely time...and while the 75 degree weather sounds absolutely scrumptious, the wonder of Handel's Messiah being performed in an opera house is pretty unbeatable. :) Especially when you're with, oh 60 or so friends. :) Hope y'all are having a good time!


    While the snow is nice (especially when we are able to use "David's Hill") ice storms are not a favorite of mine... So, we had a white Christmas this year, but we've also been stranded in our home due to the icy roads. My brother ended up in the corn field on his way out yesterday. ;) We're hoping to brave the danger today and get out...


    If you think he's cute in that one, just wait till you see all the other ones we have of him! :) lol...I suppose "loud" might not be the correct word. :) 'Twas indeed a joyous trip and there was much commotion on the drive up. The way home, on the other hand, we had some pretty tired passengers...a few who slept for much of the trip and others who decided to rest their voices for their solos that evening.

    Well, I guess 32 photos really isn't too many...since I'm uploading 50 some odd pictures from yesterday. :) When you take 547 in one day, it's really hard to decide which ones to publish. :)

    "I shall call you squishy, and you shall be my squishy..." Dory says something to that effect to a jellyfish...so yes, we have a few little ones who are delightfully squishy. :)

    I did climb up to the second story to get some pictures, but was very glad to have already claimed a first floor seat... 'Tis not fun to be plagued with motion sickness. :)

    The Opera House is one of the most beautiful I've seen...there's a cathedral in Canada and one in New Orleans that, in my humble opinion, are superior. *sigh* The piece, "Worthy Is The Lamb That Was Slain" always brings me to tears, and this time was no different...I can't wait for next year. :) Little boy voices are just gorgeous, and Joshua's is no different. :) The guys were in the tenor section, and I suppose he could've tried that part an octave higher, but his aunts weren't ready to give him up. :)

    Most of us were really on the phone with family...Jessica and Peter were just pretending, and we didn't have one for Caleb. :) We were very grateful to have miraculously avoided an accident. Being the driver, I was especially thankful. :) I pray you all had a merry Christmas too and found yourselves wrapped up in God's love.

    Miss Jen,

    It was a very special trip and we hope it's one that can be done again. :) I hope y'all had a merry Christmas too!


    We were soooo thrilled to make it! And thank you from the bottom of our hearts for hosting us! It was a wonderful trip and we are so thankful for each time we are able to visit with y'all! When we got home and found out the service was being canceled, we had the same thought! AHHH...it would've been so lovely to have spent more time with y'all! We HAVE to get together this next year...we can all add that to our New Years resolutions! lol We were very sorry to have missed chatting with you and hope you were feeling better before Christmas! Thanks again for your wonderful hospitality! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and felt to pampered with that crackling fire in our suite. :)

  8. It was nice to see you all again!

  9. Tiff, 60?? I thought you had way more!? But anyway that does sound very lovely! :)

  10. Faith,

    Yes, it was delightful! We're looking forward to the next time and hope we'll actually have time to visit. :)


    Well, there were more than 60 people in "our party" but I didn't know them all. :) Hope y'all are having fun down there! See you soon!


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