We had a VERY productive and busy ten days in America. As we drove through the crazy PAP traffic and found our way home late yesterday afternoon, we collectively agreed coming back here feels like coming home.
To recap our trip ...
We spent three days with zero children staring at a fireplace, sleeping, reconnecting and just decompressing. It was awesome. Thank you D&T Vik for the wonderful place to rest. Thank you Tina, Mom and Karen for taking care of Hope, Noah and Lydie for us.
This was our view ...
After that, we took Noah and Lydie to Doctors appointments. Noah has an issue with his left hip that we've been aware of for a while. We're hoping to correct the problem but have some work to do. Please pray that we have good discernment about what to do for him - and when to do it. We want to do what is best for him ... even if it is complicated.
It was cool to meet Grady, our new/only godchild. He seemed equally thrilled to meet us. (He is the son of my best friend of 25 years.)Hope and Noah went trick-or-treating with Uncle Matt and Aunt Tina ... they had a great time and are coming up with a plan to have Isaac dress up and come to bedroom doors tonight so he can have his own trick or treating experience. In keeping with tradition Hope vomited all over the place at about 1am. (That makes two years in a row of 10/31 puking.) Paige was sharing a bed with Hope and handled it like a champ. Most 13 year olds would freak out ... Paige calmly came for help and gracefully carried her puke covered self and sister to the bathroom. Oct 31 does not like Hope's tummy... dozens of candy bars agree. We had two dinners with Mom and Dad and Matt and Tina ... the first night I cried when I saw the table and all the work Mom went to in order to make it special. We love you guys! Thank you for the yummy dinners and your hospitality.
We spent two afternoons shopping with Britt. She found her dress - it needed one tiny alteration - (thanks Laura! thanks Dorothy!) Paige found hers and I found mine and Hope's is being sewn by Grandma and the boys have a plan. It felt a tiny bit insane but it is finished! Britt's aunts from both sides threw her a bridal shower. It was awesome to be with Britt and I think everyone had a great time. Lots of friends and family attended. I am so thankful Paige and Hope and I were able to be there. Right after the shower ended Britt headed back to Texas. The next time we are with her will be the wedding weekend-less than nine weeks from now. (Below: Tess, Paige, Hope and Jen at the shower.)When I asked Hope what her favorite part of the trip was - she said, "That day we had the bathtub party for Britt." I was confused ... "Bathtub party?"
Shower... or ... Bathtub.
We figured it out.
We truly enjoyed the chance to share what God is doing in our family and in Haiti. We had four unique opportunities to speak, and never said the same thing twice. When we actually take a minute to reflect on all He has done we realize it is no short story ... we found ways to share pieces of it -- but never had the hours it would take to truly cover all of it. The photo below is from the last church we visited. (The cute redhead playing keyboard is my cousin Nik.)
The World Wide Village Banquet had a huge turnout. Thank you Pat and Randy for everything you did to organize everything - we love you guys! Also, thank you to all of you who took time out of your busy schedules to attend. We were so happy to connect (even briefly) and loved being able to squeeze you!We met (face to face this time) many internet/blog friends and want to especially thank you for helping us add a face and a voice to your names. It was an encouraging thing and we're really thankful to you for introducing yourselves.
Yesterday we came as close to missing a flight as we ever have. Troy is to blame and is mostly taking responsibility. He hit snooze THREE times (27 minutes) and we are lucky we made our Minneapolis flight. Oddly enough, we were all too wiped out to be crabby and there was still family peace in the midst of running our butts off to get to the gate. The ten 50 lb. bags and five carry-ons (and six people) did not enter the airport until 5:22am. At 6:02am we were seated on a plane and pulling away from the gate. We are not even sure how that happened.
Lydia confirmed again yesterday that airplanes and one year olds HATE each other ... and that most passengers on airplanes also hate one year olds. The arched-back throw-yourself-around-in-a-confined-space trick was less than appreciated. For whatever reason, our child does not respond to Benadryl with sleepiness ... and there are rules against missionaries giving their small children hard liquor ... so we went without medicating and we all lived to tell about it. That spells success in our book.
Isaac, Phoebe and Annie did WONDERFULLY while we were away. Isaac has no voice from ten days of being loud and obnoxious with his buddies Ben and Joe Tlucek. (Thank you Byron and Shelley for loving him and caring for him while we were away.)
He said he missed us but that he had SO much fun with them. Isaac also pointed out that in the future he would not like to be "the one left behind" when both Mom and Dad need to leave Haiti. Gulp...Guilty, guilty. As soon as American Airlines creates a large-family discount (buy four get four free is an idea we're pitching to them) we'll be better able to make promises like that to Isaac.
Phoebe was a little bit stand-offish to us when we first got home, but now she is sitting on Troy's lap helping him get caught up on some office work. She would not kiss me until I had been home about an hour. That child is very smart. She turned TWO on Sunday. We are having a party for her tonight.
Annie LEARNED TO WALK while we were gone. This means she officially beat Lydia in the race to walk competition. (Lydie stands - no walking yet.) It also means she walked at exactly the same time Isaac did ... at eleven months. I will try to get video of that up for you Matt and Tina.Jeronne and Tipap were genuinely excited to have us home. Jeronne said, "It only takes ten days in that country and you look more beautiful!" As near as we can tell she is saying we all look fatter and cleaner/better groomed ... and we assured her that 50 degree temps and having your family shove food/candy in your face constantly have more to do with that than anything.
And now ... back to sweating and looking crappy. :) We'll fully catch you up on all things Haiti and ministry as soon as we unpack and do laundry.
Troy has jumped back in with two feet and is off with John on a visit to a very ill 22 year old woman who will likely die soon of AIDS. The day to day "normal" here happens on a level that is hard to explain. We are so thankful we're able to be here. We are especially thankful to those who partner with us and make it possible. Your prayers, gifts and generosity never go unnoticed. Thank you.
While we understand the importance of the election in the USA, we also know that there will never be a Savior on Capitol Hill. We were okay with being a bit removed from the insanity of the political process this election year. If you felt convicted to vote, we support your right to do so - it is a right (and in much of the world a rare privilege.) And if you thought it through and felt it prudent not to vote this time around... we understand that too. We're watching on-line to see what the results bring and trust that our Sovereign God (the only savior this world will ever know) will work powerfully with today's results whatever they are.
Our trip was perfect and we're happy to be back home again.