Friday, August 31, 2012

The Hardest Goodbye

I know this is something that we chose. We decided that it would be best for the kids to stay with grandparents instead of another transition to living in France. They have gone through so much in the last 9 months. When we decided this I knew it would be hard.....but I had no idea it would be this hard. The thought of tomorrow, saying goodbye for 2 months to our 3 kids is simply breaking my heart.

I am trying to keep things in perspective though. I think of military families who endure months of separation from their children. I think of missionary families who had to send their children off to boarding school for months at a time. I think of mommies who have lost children and know that they would give anything to have just a 2 month separation. And I think of my Heavenly Father and His separation from His SON. But for me, right now, I just don't think my heart can carry this weight.

We prayed about it, and we felt like this was the best for the kids. So I keep telling myself, it is hard for me, but the best for them. And that is what us mommies do. We endure. We sacrifice. We hurt. We cry...for our children. Because we are mommies.

I know the Lord never asks us to do anything that He won't help us do. So today, right now, I am trusting HIM. Because I know I can NOT do this.

So now, as the tears keep coming and my heart feels like it will just break, I ask you to pray for my sweet little family. Beceause tomorrow will be the hardest goodbye.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Life in Iowa

The last few weeks here in Iowa have been great. We've been able to spend time with family that we don't get to see often enough, visited several of our supporting churches, went to the Iowa State Fair, celebrated Eliza's birthday, started school and settled the kids into life here for the time while we are gone.

The Iowa Cousins-Emma 7, Eliza 6, Adi 5, Olivia 4 and Aiden 2!  What a group!!!

Aiden loved the animals at the Iowa State Fair.  We could barely pull him away from this goat!

Me and Eliza and her 6th birthday. So blessed to be called "MOMMY"

The kids dressed up liked cowgirls and a cowboy for VBS.  Livi and Aiden were too busy watching the other kids come in!!
John helping with the VBS lesson one night

Eliza and Adi's birthdays are 10 days apart so we had a party for them together.

Poor Aiden is out numbered by all the girls!

Eliza's first day of 1st grade at Grandview Park Baptist School.

I did this for her first day of K-4 and she still likes me to do it now!

If we can't find Aiden in the house, we know exactly where to look.  He LOVES it here with the ducks, chickens, dogs, bunny and all the land!  Here he was "checking on my ducks"

Checking on his chickens

Olivia's first day of K-4.  She was excited about it.....until we actually got there!

Of course, I had to write on her hand too!  Since we won't be here soon, I bought them both a little silver heart necklace so when they get sad or nervous, they can hold it and know that I love them and am praying for them no matter where I am.

We took them to make a Build A Bear amd recorded a song that we always sing to them and put it in the bear so we can still sing to them every night when we are in France.

Riding on the 4 wheeler!

Livi's favorite thing to do is ride the tire swing.

He seems to like it too!

Visting some of our Minnesota family

Catching up

and loving on the cousins!

Livi and Aunt Julie (John's mother's youngest sister)

The kids with cousins Becca and Gracie.  They were both in our wedding as flower girls.

The kids with one set of great grandparents.  These are John's mom's parents who live in Minnesota.  They support us every month for our work in Togo.  So thankful for family.

We have had such a sweet time with everyone here. Tomorrow we are keeping the girls home from school to spend some extra time together before we leave for France Saturday. I am cherishing every moment with them.

Travel Day # 3.....We finally made it!!

Travel Day #3, August 3rd

After a non-eventful night (thank the Lord!!)  in another Holiday Inn Express we loaded up for another round of driving.  The GPS says we still have nearly 8 hours today!

We thought we would switch things up today. Aiden was excited to be riding in the van with Eliza....even if he did have to ride in a pink car seat!

These 2 had a blast together! And were so loud!!

Olivia was happy to have some time with Daddy.

And so after several more hours of this.....

...and this....

We FINALLY saw this!!!!

After 3 days, 9 meals eating out, countless potty breaks, hundreds of dollars in gas, 24 hours of driving and over 1200 miles, we finally made it to Iowa. We are so thankful for safety of travel and are happy settle in for a little while. Well, 3 weeks that is!!

Travel Day #2

August 2nd, 2012

This is day 2 of our pictures

Some friends of ours sent us passes to the Creation Museum in Ohio, which was right on our way to Iowa.  So we thought we would give the kids a little break from driving and stop for a few hours.

Aiden LOVED the dinosaurs

The girls got to make a clay sculpture

The museum had the neatest area depicting the Garden of Eden

The girls weren't as fond of the dinosaurs

Playing in the Noah's Ark area

Out in the Botanical Gardens....they were simply amazing!

In the petting zoo

Walking across the suspension bridge....they were just happy to be walking and not riding!

After the museum, we stopped at a great little pizza place, La Rosa's.  They had some of their original menus.  This was the menu from the 50's. Spaghetti and meatballs was 55 cents and a large pizza was $1.25.  How crazy is that!!

These were garlic knots.  I could have eaten all of them!!

Aiden praying....I guess you have to stand up to pray!

This is exactly how I felt after ALL that driving!

Back on the road after dinner.....only 4 more hours to drive tonight.

Friday, August 24, 2012


It was late, well past 10pm. And after an emotional day and 11 hours of driving, we were so ready to stop for the night.  We found a Holiday Inn Express (they allow pets and we have our dog with us) and piled out of the cars.  John was finishing checking us in at the front desk so I, along with the luggage, children and dog headed for the room.  I think it was Eilza who used the key card to open the door.  I was pushing the door open with my right hand while trying to hold the dog, pull the luggage and scoot the kids into the room with the other hand.  Just as I looked up and into the room.....I heard the scream and saw a lady running toward me in her night clothes.  In a split second, I surveryed the scene to see her running towards me screaming "People are in here!!!!!", saw her sleepy-eyed husband sitting up in his bed, and 2 small kids jumping up in their beds, obviously terrified of these people coming into their room.  I had just walked in on this little family!!  Sampson (the dog) was barking furociously at her, my kids were shocked at this woman screaming at me, and I was blubbering like an idiot.  I felt terrible for these poor people and could only imagine if that were us!  I am amazed no one else came out of their rooms with all the noise and comotion! I tried to apologize......profusely, but I think I sounded like an idiot, nothing was making sense that I said and was only making things worse. It was like a scene from a TV show.  It took me a second to realize I was still standing in their room!  Finally, I gathered myself, our luggage, the dog and the 3 kids and got out of their room.

I headed towards the front desk to find John.   He thought it was funny.  I was NOT amused.  I was totally humiliated and told him that I was not going to the continental breakfast in the moring.....because if I ran into that screaming lady again, I would be mortified!

The hotel clerk gave us another key and another room and blamed it on the computers.  Needless to say, I barricaded our door that night cause I had a strange feeling that someone might walk into our room too!

A Hard GoodBye

Since we are staying with John parent's right now, who live in the country with very limited internet access, I haven't been able to update my blog. I have also been trying to spend all my time with the kids since our departure is so soon. Today, Eliza and Olivia are at school and Aunt Jeana took Aiden to the Zoo for a play date with a friend. John is studying for his I thought I would update. I will warn you that there are a LOT of pictures. I have a problem, I know!!

Travel day #1 August 1st, 2012

We stayed up most of the night packing and cleaning our rental, so I knew it would be a LOND day traveling. Add in the emotions and it made for a tough day. We met my family at IHOP for breakfast....I knew this would be the last time we are all together for quite a while. Micah and Jamie are also moving. And while we will see them briefly in November, it was that moment as an adult when you realize things will never be the's a hard thing to process. But, I wanted to enjoy the time with my family and not get too emotional.

The whole gang

Macie and Eliza love each other to pieces!

Aiden simply adores Blaise and asks for him all the time.

My parents....I know this is a hard time for them too.  The are losing 6 of their 7 grandkids to moves!

Mom and Grandma

Liza and her sweet Aunt Rachel

Uncle Josh loves his nieces and they love him!

Blaise and Jamie

Uncle Micah with Liv and Macie

Me and Blaise.   He thinks he is too cool for me.....but deep down, I know I am his favorite Aunt!  And I am barely taller than him and he is only 8!!  The kids is a GIANT!


This might be my favorite picture.....ever.  I glanced up while Dad was praying and saw Aiden like this and just had to take a picture!

This is when I started tearing up.  As I handed sweet Joshua to Rachel, I realized everything we are leaving behind.

After hugging, crying, and saying good bye, we loaded up. The boys in one car ....
                                                     and the girls in the other.


    This would be my view for the next 11 hours.  My wonderful husband John and Aiden leading the way!

And this was my view in my mirror.  The girls had both just woken up from a little nap.

We did hit some pretty heavy traffic for a couple hours!

The girls favorite things were tunnels, the tolls.....

....and the bridges!  When we went over one, they just squealed like they were on a roller coaster.

This was our view that evening.  I couldn't get a good picture, but it was simply breath taking.  Such a good reminder of the ONE who is making this journey with us.
Now it's time to stop for the night.

My family

My family