It’s been months since our last family update. We have been so busy that I have neglected to keep up our stories. I’ll do my best to share what’s been happening these last few months without being too wordy. This might be hard...
Our biggest story was being able to go back to the states after being gone for two and a half years. Mike worked it our for us to take a space available flight on a C-17 right before Christmas time. We pulled the kids out of school a week early to widen our chances of catching a free flight out of Ramstein. And it worked! We enjoyed the privilege of flying in a military plane across the ocean. Other than getting off the ground, the flight was amazing! Once we were at altitude, we were able to put up seats, lay out sleeping bags, plug in computers, watch movies, and eat until our hearts were content. I have never felt so rested after an international flight.
Once we landed in Charleston, SC, we realized our possibilities coming home were very slim. But shortly after we landed, we secured return flights home for a minimal price because we flew back before January 1st.
As for the time in the states, we loved it! I didn’t realize how much I missed - our family, great restaurants, shopping like crazy, American roads and signs, etc. As soon as we landed and got our rental car, we went to Chik-Fil-A, my favorite restaurant! Mike had to fly back to Germany to keep working. So the kids and I drove to Atlanta, GA to visit my parents (mom and step-dad). The kids loved being at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Grandpa did a lot of fun things with them, like building a campsite along with fire and tent, while Grandma and I went shopping. Mike rejoined us on the 24th in time to spend Christmas day together as a family.
While in Georgia, we decided to drive down to Panama City for two days to see Grandy, my grandmother, the kids’ great-grandmother. My parents (dad and step-mother) were passing through so my little sister, Melanie, and her two daughters came up to visit too. In addition, some of my aunts and uncles met up with us for the afternoon to catch up on everyone’s happenings. Grandy’s house was packed! I felt so special that everyone came in to see us. It added such a bonus to our trip because that was not planned.
Some of our memorable moments from being at Grandpa and Grandma’s house included the kids using their pencils to write through their papers onto the wood table etching their words into the wood grain. Another was the campfire with marshmallows and chocolate s’mores. We got to visit Grandpa and Grandma’s work. A toilet overflowed on the top floor and leaked down to the bottom floor then through to the basement. Bryan saw the flooding and locked to bathroom door “to keep the water in”. He never said anything because he thought he would get in trouble. Oh my! And we got to help one of Grandma’s co-workers judge Christmas lights for his neighborhood. It was a good trip!
The day after Christmas we flew to Las Vegas to be with Mike’s family who had all come in for his parents’ fortieth anniversary! We enjoyed spending the day at his sister’s house as she hosted all the kid friendly events. We enjoyed all the meals, paying Dance Dance on the Wii, seeing the aquarium, going to Circus Circus arcade, riding in a limo, seeing the Tournament of the Kings, having ice cream and chocolate covered strawberries (compliments of my brother who we also met up with in Vegas), and of course the renewing of the vows followed with breakfast and family pictures together.
It was hard to come back home because I missed everyone so much. I got my fill of shopping and eating, but not my fill of being with family. I don’t think that would be possible. We left Mike in the states so he could attend training and we flew home to recover from jet lag before school started again. It was a great Christmas vacation with many blessings we didn’t deserve. God completed provided everything for us!
We celebrated Stasia’s fourteenth birthday in January. It’s hard to believe how grownup is! She rejoiced over getting a cell phone (pay-as-you-go) and a purity ring. I am thankful that she is proud to wear her new jewelry as we start teaching her about dating. Yikes!
February was pretty quiet aside from our normal crazy schedule. But we did celebrate our seventh anniversary of our first adoption (of Stasia and Dasha). We did our annual thing and went to Baskin Robbins at the base mall and ate ice cream sundaes until we couldn’t eat any more. I enjoy those times!
March came all to quickly with the springtime and left us only two days with snow the whole winter. We were a little disappointed to not have any snow days at school or be able to go sledding. That’s okay though, we had some beautiful sunny days to make up for it. Mike also surprised me with a one night stay at Castle Schoenburg for our thirteenth anniversary. Our wonderful lifegroup quickly volunteered to watch our kids among four families making it easy for me to enjoy our time without worrying about kids. It was such an elegant night where I felt like royalty with the amazing four/six course meal and extravagant lodging. My baby knows how to treat me like a princess!
To close, we are now waiting for our next assignment (praying to stay here!). We’ve been told that we should receive official news any day now. Though, we were told that back in February and it kept getting delayed. I know God has our life under control, so I am not worried. But we’ll post something as soon as we hear about it.
Thanks for keeping up with our family!