Friday, August 22, 2014
August 5, 2014
For her birthday Julia was able to do one of her very favorite things – SWIM. After spending all day at the waterpark we had dinner at our place with both sets of grandparents and Uncle Steve and Aunt Margret.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Keeping in Paraguay tradition, we do still sit outside every now and then and share terere.
best of both worlds – terere in one hand and Dr Pepper in the other
We have started our Monday Donut Day tradition back up from last home assignment.
The absolute best part of being back in the U.S is spending time with family. With Jeff’s parents just a block away we have managed to see them nearly every day – sometimes for a meal and sometimes just for a few minutes as they (or we) drop things off. My family has just retired from 19 years of overseas missions and have moved to Abilene, Texas, about 3 hours from us. How great it has been to see and reconnect with them and to know that we’ll be more of them during this year that we are on the same continent.Celebrating Uncle Steve and Zuleka’s birthday
A day outdoors with Oma and Opa
Sports and pizza at the park with Uncle Steve and Aunt Margret
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
July 27, 2014
Sometimes “different” can be fun and exciting. Other times “different” can be very overwhelming. Today was our first American church experience in 4 years.
As of Saturday evening we had every intention of attending Sunday school and church but when we looked at the schedule and time options on the internet for church and kids’ and adults’ classes we were so overwhelmed with decisions that we decided to keep it simple and just go to the church service.
Here’s a list of “first time” things we came up with after church:
Micah: It was his first time in 4 years to have to wear shoes to church
Ryan: It was his first time in 4 years not to bring a soccer ball to church
Joshua: It was the first time in 4 years that he understood the entire sermon
Jeff: It was the first time in for years that he knew none of the worship songs
Josiah: It was the first time in 4 years that he has been away from parents and siblings at church
Tyler: It was the first time in 4 years that he was in a class with just boys his age
Ginny: It was the first time in 4 years that she’d heard so much English spoken
Amy: It was the first time in 4 years that she wasn’t within ear and eye shot of her children
Julia: It was the first time in 4 years that she’d more than a guitar or piano during worship
Sunday, August 10, 2014
These were some observations from the kids after our first week back:
People are friendly and they speak English
BBQ tastes so good and Dr Pepper is everywhere
We no longer drive the biggest car in the country
Drinking fountains, public trash cans, mailboxes, and trash pick up
Pipes are big enough to handle toilet paper
Houses can be cold inside even when it is 100 degrees outside (good ole air-conditioning)
Nice white lines mark lanes and parking spaces
You can step outside your house at 10:00 and 2:00 (terere time) and see no one
Microwaves, automatic ice makers, garbage disposals, fast food chains, high capacity washing machines and full size dryers promise to make life easier
Pop tarts, cereal, cheese, nice toilet paper, sour cream and ice cream are 5 minutes away
Dogs are on lashes
Carpet and walls are white, houses don’t get as dirty and dinner can be made from dumping out a few cans
Our house is beautiful, big, has white carpet and white walls. We are renting from Jeff’s parents this year. The house is a block from their house which has been a wonderful. Carol and Ted did a fantastic job of outfitting the house for us – from furniture to appliances, first-aid kits to toiletries, from a stocked pantry and refrigerator to toys in a toy box.
The yard is small but the kids love tackling and playing on the carpet. I asked Tyler if he minded the carpet burns to which he replied, “Playing in carpet hurts a lot less then cement and it isn’t as itchy as grass.” No one has complained about our yard size, but Ginny did say, “Don’t people in America know that if they made their houses smaller, there yard would be bigger? It’s just nice to have a big yard to explore.” So for a year we give up an outdoor life for carpet and air- conditioning.
The kids have enjoyed riding bikes in the neighborhood and not having to worry about thorns puncturing the tires, although they do have to worry about cars which is a new worry for them. Julia keeps asking to go to her other home where Lady and Comet (our dogs) are. Then she proceeds down the entire list of our animals’ names. The minute Josiah’s feet touched carpet he has taken off walking. And now after two weeks he is practically running after his siblings. The kids have also enjoyed all the watery things we’ve been able to do. We’ve been swimming in the creek, had fun in a friend’s swimming pool, loved the splash park and sprinklers and a waterpark.
We are a true American family complete with TWO vehicles parked in our driveway. Jeff’s dad is allowing us to use his Suburban for the year. After a week of being back we decided to pursue our ideal US vehicle – a 15 passenger van. Jeff found a great deal, drove to Dallas and picked it up. We’ve taken the back row out and can now easily fit all of us plus all our gear (like the 4 bikes we took to the park the other day and all our Wal-mart groceries). One day I asked Tyler to look outside and see which vehicle Jeff took to run errands. He looked and said, “He took the one that everyone in Texas drives (the suburban).” My kids aren’t used to seeing so many big vehicles.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Thursday, July 16th at 10:30pm we headed to the airport in order to catch our 1:15AM flight to Panama. This was Julia and Josiah’s first plane ride and both laughed all through take-off then, praise God, promptly went to sleep. The rest of us soon learned that sleeping on the plane is no easy task. We were tired when we started the trip and we were tied when we landed in Panama at 6AM.
However, after breakfast and coffee we were ready to begin our three days of site-seeing in Panama. The canal was incredible, the kids loved the animals at the zoo, the sea food was awesome, the historical towns were cool and the place we stayed was fabulous.
Sunday was an early morning as we headed to the airport at 5AM.
We took two flights and finally landed at 4:00pm in Austin where Jeff’s parents and his brother and brother’s wife were waiting for us with huge smiles and open arms. They drove us back to our house which managed to surpass any expectation we might have had. This is a house that Jeff’s dad bought a couple years ago and will rent it to us for the year. Even better, you can see their house from our back yard. The house is huge (even for our family of 9), it is furnished, set up with internet (Ryan said that he never knew internet could be so fast), and the kitchen cabinets are full and the pantry is stocked. Jeff’s mom thought of everything – shampoo in the showers, toothpaste in the bathrooms, garbage sacks under the sink…the list could go on and on. The Suburban he bought is in the driveway with a full tank of gas. We feel so blessed.