Wednesday, September 3, 2014


August 14, 2014

            Three weeks ago when I walked into the local DPS office I felt as if I were back in Paraguay.  The overcrowded waiting room groaned with people who had been waiting for a long time.  Lines of people curving around various obstacles made it impossible to tell where one ended and anther started.  Then I really felt as if I were back in Paraguay when, after three hours of waiting, I walked out no closer to my goal.  You see because my driver’s license is more than 2 years expired I have to not only renew it but take the written and driving test again. 
            The second attempt at getting my license I only had to wait 2 hours and the lady behind the counter liked my paperwork that time (it’s really hard to prove you live somewhere when you’ve only been in that place a couple weeks and own nothing) and I passed my written driving test (yes, I did study).    
            The third trip to DPS was to take my driving test which is booked by appointment only one week in advance.  I showed up on time and confident after practicing my parallel parking in the parking lot only to have the teacher discover before even meeting me that the car’s registration (I was in my mother-in-law’s vehicle) was out of date and therefore I couldn’t complete the test.  I booked another appointment for the following week.
            Fourth time in three weeks to the DPS office I passed my driving test and now I can drive in this country.   


We’ve hosted a lot which we are loving.  It has been fun getting to know people again and having a nice house to serve a meal. 
 August 13, 2014: we began school today.  5 kids in 4 grades. 

We’ve been chasing this guy around.  He is running and hiding and getting into EVERYTHING a healthy 1 ½ year old should.  He is so full of life, so cute, and so fun to have around!  

I am 18 weeks…feeling good and getting big

Ginny has been enjoying horseback riding lessons

 Julia loves her new cowgirl boots!

Spending time with family

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

 First time for Josiah to be in a swing like this.  He loved it.

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

LIFE in TEXAS part 1

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.