Sunday, October 23, 2011


On the drive from Lake Arrowhead to Mission Viejo Ethan was talking about ladders at our house and said something about having two ladders. I said, “Maybe you are thinking about how we had the ladder in the garage and then moved it into what do you call it?” I couldn’t think of the word and thought Gary could help out. As soon as I said, “What do you call it?” Ethan responded, “Tool shed.” I was a little dumbfounded that Ethan just finished my sentence knowing what I was talking about. Then I also realized that he was correct; we do have 2 ladders if you count the ladder that goes up to the attic. He always amazes me! It makes me wonder how God looks down on us. There are so many times that I look at Ethan with joy and happiness, and I’m so proud of him. There are also times that my heart is saddened because he made a wrong choice that either resulted in natural consequences or the need for parental discipline. We do that in love and gentleness hoping he will make the correct choice in the future because he wants to obey rather than from fear of correction. We can look at him and experience love, joy, happiness, sadness, frustration, laughter, pleasure, and many other things. It’s just a small glimpse of our heavenly Father looking at us. Of course, God knows our thoughts, motivations, and what we are going to do beforehand. Wouldn’t that be nice with children!  IMG_2246Here is a family picture from us at my relatives’ house in Lake Arrowhead, soon before this car ride back to Mission Viejo.

Our Time in CA

I’ve been working on this CA post for some time, so it may seemed fragmented, but hopefully not. :-)

Thankfully our week started out in CA with some couples coming to where we were in Mission Viejo. This helped keep somewhat of a decent nap schedule for the kids. We stayed with a couple who are ministry partners. I only met her once four years ago, and this was the first time that Gary and I met her husband since she got married a few years ago. She is a second grade teacher, and he is a Kindergarten teacher, so of course, that was a good connection. We really enjoyed staying with them and getting to know them more.IMG_2100 Ethan enjoyed riding on this rocking horse at George and Lynn’s house.  It didn’t matter how far back you rocked, it didn’t flip over.  Really cool!  Even Gary got on it.IMG_2119 For some of you in Budapest reading this, you may recognize a few of these CA faces on this post.  It was fun to meet Beth’s husband, Gabe, and their little girl.IMG_2111Aria and Ethan are posing for the camera whereas Sienna would rather play with the flower in her hair.IMG_2117On Saturday, we drove up to Ventura County, which took us around 3.5 hours (should have been about 2 hours without kids). We have some friends who drove down 2 hours from Bakersfield to meet us. None of us could find the place they wanted to meet, so we ended up on the beach. That worked out perfectly. We didn’t think we would make it to the beach at all while in CA, so this was our chance. It was much more child friendly than where Kristine originally planned for us to meet. The kids played in the sand while we all stood and talked for a few hours. Course, I thought to put sunscreen on the kids, but Gary and I forgot to put any on, so both of us got burnt. IMG_2130Ethan and Ellie played well in the sand together.IMG_2133Ethan’s tent came in handy for Sienna to get out of the sun and wind.  I think my mom actually bought this for us to put Ethan in outside in order to keep him out of the sun.  But, this has been his bed for the past 5 weeks.IMG_2182It was quite windy, but Sienna loved looking at the water coming in and out.

We went to speak at a church the next day that we’ve never been to. They had a service, then Sunday School, then another service, so we were there for 4 hours. We took Ethan and Sienna out of their room to be outside during the SS time while we talked to people, so it wasn’t too long for them. After church we went to someone’s house for lunch. The weather was much warmer than forecasted, so we were able to eat outside. It was a beautiful (but hot) day. The couple invited the pastor, his wife, and some others over for lunch, so we enjoyed getting to know them all better. The pastor’s daughter played with Ethan most of the time which was a blessing.

We went straight from there to see Robeson and Natalie. Natalie taught in Budapest, and the last time I saw her was our wedding. It was fun to see them, along with her mom that I hadn’t seen in years, and meet their little boy. I felt segmented in my thoughts while trying to catch up because of Ethan or Sienna. I’m not a good multi-tasker (at least when talking is one of the things involved). They took us to a place to eat fish tacos on the pier, so it was nice to spend a little more time with them. By the time we got back we had been out for over 12 hours. And, Ethan didn’t have a meltdown! That was great considering he went to bed late the night before, we had to wake him up that morning, he didn’t get a nap, and he went to bed late that day.IMG_2198Benjamin coming over to see what is going on and why this other child is sitting in his Neemommy’s lap.  IMG_2201It was so fun to see Natalie again!IMG_2208We went out to eat with everyone and I had my first fish taco (which I’ve seen in CO and NC since then, so I guess it’s becoming a popular thing, or I just never noticed it before).

We left the next day to go to Lake Arrowhead to meet my relatives. This is my mom’s cousin that I’ve not seen since I was about one year old. It took us about 3 hours to get there, and we could only stay a couple of hours since we were speaking to a group in Mission Viejo that evening. It was so nice to meet Jerry and Bam after growing up hearing stories and seeing pictures of them. We left there and went to Mission Viejo to where we were spending the night and basically put the suitcases in the house, changed clothes and walked out the door to go to a dessert where we were speaking.IMG_2248 I loved getting to spend a little time with my relatives and hated that it was only a few hours when I’ve basically never met them before.IMG_2251They had a great view of the lake!

We spoke to two groups during the evenings while in CA, and each time we were able to change Sienna into her pajamas, nurse her, and put her down in the car seat for her 7:00 bedtime. Ethan just ended up staying up past his bedtime in both cases.  On Sunday and Monday, we were out for around 12 hours straight each day.  Are we crazy or what?!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Flights, Flights, and More Flights

We have been on 5 flights in 5 weeks and one day (8 fights if you count the legs).  We’ve also been in 5 different time zones during those five weeks.  I’m eager to land in NC and actually be there a while before flying again.

I’m in the Atlanta airport as I’m starting this post.  Gary is working on a medical claim form, Ethan is sitting next to him in the floor “reading” a book, and Sienna is laying on a blanket, where we hope she will take a nap.

We had a missing bag on the flight from Hungary, but it was a different case than just a missing checked bag.  The bag that was missing was a carry-on that we had put inside of a checked bag.  It was also full of clothes and a tent for Ethan to sleep in.  Somehow the tent and some of the clothes managed their way out of the carry-on and into the larger suitcase.  After much e-mailing and phone calls, Gary just went to the lost and found baggage at the airport when we went for our next flight.  The number the Budapest airport gave us was not one in the computer system.  Thankfully Gary saw the bag and pointed to it saying it was ours.  However, it was full of someone’s stuff.  It was a handbag and laptop inside with a tag from Amsterdam to Budapest.  I don’t know how in the world it got in our bag when our bag was in a checked suitcase leaving Budapest, and this bag was arriving in Budapest.  Sadly, we will probably never get the clothes back that never made it back in the large suitcase.  I’m thankful it wasn’t more and that we did get the carry-on back.  We borrowed a carry-on to take to CO, so once we got our other carry-on from the airport that meant that we had 4 carry-on bags (the wheel kind).  So, Ethan ended up pulling one of them.  From that point, we decided he could help with a carry-on bag during the rest of our travels unless it was too heavy.

Some of you probably wonder how the kids have done on all of these flights.  They are kind of a blur now, but some were good and some not so good.  Thankfully the one from CO to Atlanta today was good, and hopefully the next one will be.  After the flight landed from Atlanta to Denver, Ethan told Gary that he was going back.  Gary asked if he was going to fly back to Atlanta.  Ethan said he was, and Gary asked if he was going to fly back all by himself.  Ethan said, “yes.”  Gary said, “Well, send us a postcard if you find work.”  Then Ethan said, “I’m joking.”

When the flight landed in CO from CA Ethan didn’t want to leave the seat because he was watching a fire truck or something like that out of the window.  Every single person in front of us had left the plane, and many people behind us were waiting for him to get out of the seat.  Thankfully some of them were laughing at him saying he wanted to stay to watch whatever it was (I don’t remember now).

Well, I wrote all of this in the airport and am just posting it 5 days later.  An update on us hoping Sienna would sleep in the airport… well, we ended up picking her up and Ethan laid on the blanket and took a nap.  We had to wake him to get on the flight.

I’m going to post some more random pictures since I don’t have any photos to go with what I’m writing.  I just hate to post something that has no pictures.IMG_2064There are lots of geese near Gary’s parents’ house.  Here Ethan is feeding them, and this particular one was about as tall as Ethan when he stretched his neck (which doesn’t show in this picture).SiennaCutie-pie!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Generous Neighbor

Several of you have made comments to me about not updating the blog since we’ve been in the States.  I keep meaning to, but we’ve had to work on so much other stuff I’ve not had a chance.  So, I am attempting to start working on some blog entries and hopefully get them posted before too long.

Two weeks ago I told Gary that I just had to blog about what happened to us, so I will focus on that for now.  However, I will put a few random pictures at the bottom that are from CO.

We were scheduled to speak to a Sunday School class and then speak in the church service at a church in CO.  Gary and Ethan went out to the car while I was getting the diaper bag, snacks, etc. together.  All of a sudden I heard the horn honking over and over again.  I thought that Ethan had gotten in the front seat and was just honking the horn, so I walked out to stop him.  Lo and behold, Gary was sitting in the front seat of the car, and not honking the horn.  Some how the alarm started going off on the car but we didn’t have the little part that turns it off.  It disabled the car from starting, so nothing Gary tried worked.  The neighbor pulled up and came over to help but couldn’t figure it out either.  Gary’s parents had already left in the other car for their church.  The neighbor heard that we were speaking at a church, so she just told us to take her car.  She had a fairly new Jeep.  We were so surprised that she just said to take her car (especially rather new car) when she hardly knows us.  So, we switched the car seats to her car and went to church.  It was so neat how she pulled up right at the time the alarm was going off.  Otherwise, we would have had to call the church and ask someone to locate Gary’s parents for them to come home and would probably have been about 45 minutes late rather than 10-15.  Thankfully we were speaking to a Sunday School class first.  Otherwise, there would have been people in the church service saying, “Well, we were supposed to have missionaries share with you this morning, but …”  I didn’t mention that we didn’t have any telephone numbers for the pastor or anyone on the missions committee at the church where we were speaking either.  I’m so thankful for God’s provisions and in unexpected ways!

So, here are a few pictures:IMG_1646 Sienna (7 months) with her grandma (Nana). IMG_1648Ethan doing what he loves to do at Papa and Nana’s house- playing the piano.IMG_1910