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| America!

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Since Carrigan officially became a United States citizen on April 24th (my birthday, no less!), we thought it only fitting for him to visit the most important American icon soon after his citizenship since we live so close. It helped that our homeschool co-op group organized and paid for this trip to motivate us to make the trek with all our kids. I’m pretty sure any outing at this point in our lives will end up noteworthy. During the first 30 minutes of our drive down, Joey and I were marveling at how nice it was to have some time to talk with all of our children strapped down and unable to move. We were enjoying conversation so much that we somehow ended up in the wrong lane and missed the turnoff to head into New Jersey…and we ended up on the George Washington bridge into Manhattan with bumper to bumper traffic and no place to turn around. If we had time to spare, this might not have been a huge big deal, but since we already were running late (normal for us- getting out of the house, especially by 8AM is no small feat!) this could quite probably cause us to miss the 10AM ferry to Ellis Island with our group- who also had our tickets. As I was berating Joey for missing the turn, I noticed a strange sound coming from the back seat. No Odell trip would be complete without someone vomiting all over themselves in the car, or needing to evacuate their bowels at the most inopportune time. Griffin had thrown up. It was only by God’s grace that I realized I had packed him an extra outfit. You would think with this many kids I would always be prepared for any emergency, but I can’t tell you how many times I have had to borrow a diaper and wipes from a new mom in a public restroom since I often forget even the basics on outings.



He's not sure where he's going, but he's pretty sure it's going to be great!

We neglected to bring sunglasses, among other things.

By the time we were able to turn around and head back to our meeting spot on Liberty Island, our panicked looking group was actually still waiting for us in the parking lot with our tickets and we all had to run for the “last call” to jump on the ferry. This is a pretty common theme for us lately.
Even Jersey looks cool from here.

Even Jersey looks cool from here.

We quickly realized when we got to Ellis Island that we were not going to be able to keep up with our group, nor did we want to make everyone wait on us. Just the amount of time it takes for us to all use the restroom and stop for a drink or snack and reposition everyone into their respective gear and gather all our stuff our entire group could have completed the tour of the museum. So, we split up and did things at our own snails pace.
Registration room - we're glad we didn't have to do this with Carrigan or Charlotte for real!

Registration room – we’re glad we didn’t have to do this with Carrigan or Charlotte for real!

Look at my hand!

Look at my hand!

Apparently, we aren’t just a sight in China, and if we hadn’t just been there, this probably would have seemed very strange to us, but we took it in stride and even handed the baffled American taking the picture our own camera to shoot a picture with this complete stranger, as well. We are really used to the question, “Are they ALL yours?” (we hung our “Yes, they are ALL mine” bag over the stroller), but we heard it phrased two new ways today: “I know they can’t ALL be yours!?” and even, “Please tell me they are not ALL yours!” Um, please tell ME you are not usually so rude and obnoxious! We even had an Amish woman come up to us with questions and wondering how they can all be ours when they look all the same ages- it’s pretty funny when people from cultures that also have large families think ours is exceptional. I wonder if we adopt from Africa or India at some point if we would get similar responses to our family size.
The paparazzi followed us to America.

The paparazzi followed us to America.

The rest of the day went extremely well considering it was our first outing as a family of 10 (we so miss Gaige, making us 11). A friend delivered two hot pizzas to us almost as soon as we arrived home, and I was so wiped out I fell asleep with the kids by 9PM. Apparently adding a couple more kids to the mix has been the cure for my insomnia!

It took no less than 42 attempts to get this picture, and this is the best we could pull off.


Stayin’ Alive!


Dad: This was the torch when I was a kid. Grace: No it wasn’t, Dad.


Liberty poses dominated the day.


“Look, Dad, I’m picking Liberty’s nose!”


New York and the Odell’s, a great combination.


Wait, where’s Griffin?


Even being behind Lady Liberty is awesome.


America. ‘Nuff said.

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