That's where I'm about to bring you. ;)
Got to the states just in time for Thanksgiving. Had a glorious time there in Beverly, Mass. with Joel's immediate family for about 3 weeks.
Got to Louisiana mid-December. Had a great Christmas and New Year's. Finally found a house for us to live in while here. Cute little thing with a special history.
Settled in our house and got to work right away with homeschool. Joel worked on some transportation (a vehicle) for us as well as working on presentations for speaking engagements while here. We spoke at several churches. Have met several great people for the first time and caught up with many old friends and our family. Went to countless basketball games to watch Tucker (little brother, senior in high school this year) play ball. Got to follow him all the way to the state playoffs, which was a really cool, unexpected surprise. They lost in the semi-finals, but what a fun ride that was. GO BOBCATS!!
In mid-February (at the time of my last blog post), we started the traveling. I went to a conference in the Dallas area and also caught up with some friends in Longview. I got back from the conference and less that 24 hours later, Joel flew out to attend some training in North Carolina. He was gone for 10 days. He got home on a Tuesday night. On Wednesday, we went to Tucker's basketball playoffs over 3 hours away. On Thursday, we went car shopping and bought one (in a matter of one afternoon). On Friday, we packed. On that Saturday, March 13th, we headed out west on our trip to Arizona.
We stopped over in Longview for a few days. Saw lots of great friends and spent some time at New Covenant Church (formerly Church on the Rock, where Joel and I met; they are our official sending church). Then we headed out to Arizona. Took the kids to see the Grand Canyon and then headed down to Phoenix. Spent about 2 weeks there...saw tons of friends and visited a few churches too...so fun!!
Started driving on a Thursday night. Got back to Goldonna at 6:30 on Saturday morning...we had to be somewhere at 10am. TIRED!! That was Easter weekend. LOTS of fun seeing lots of friends and family and doing all the Easter things with the kids.
We spent the next few days unpacking, washing, changing over winter clothes for summer ones, and packing again. We also had to clean our house really good and rearrange/put away things because some other people stayed here while we were gone. Um, CRAZY few days. We left on that Thursday...April 8th.
We went straight to Dallas...Keller to be exact. Spent some time with friends and on Sunday morning Joel was supposed to fly out to Canada. It was a very unexpected trip that he had to make because he couldn't fit into the training he had planned on attending in North Carolina (in March; he got some training there, but not all that he'd originally planned on...the JAARS class ended up being too full). So, it was really impromptu. Around 1am on Sunday morning, Joel suddenly asked, "Do you have to have your passport to get into Canada now?" Woopsies. He's been to Canada before, but that was before you had to have a passport. Joel didn't have his passport with him. He was just going to postpone the trip until Monday and have his passport meet him where he had his layover (something with the airlines called 'counter to counter'), but when someone in Louisiana got his passport, it was expired anyway. Joel knew he was going to have to renew his passport while here, but because he didn't know he'd have to take this trip to Canada, just hadn't done that yet. So, yes...the Canada trip was a no-go. He hopes to be able to do it in June.
So, we all just stayed there in the Dallas area visiting friends and churches (and I got to attend a conference that I had wanted to, but didn't think I'd be able to because of Joel's travel...it was amazing!) until this past Sunday. We stayed with our friends John and Nicole until Saturday. Then we visited some friends in Ft. Worth on Saturday and went on to friends in Mansfield (Texas) to stay the night. Then we started the trek home after church on Sunday.
There was still part of one family that we hadn't gotten to see from the Longview area. We had to return something to them anyway. So, we stopped over there on Sunday afternoon. Their son and his wife and kiddos were also there (SO glad we got to see them) to help fix their roof that had hail damage. The son was doing it all by himself. So...we ended up staying the night unexpectedly so that Joel could help Paul out with the roof on Monday.
We headed home Monday afternoon and made a couple of stops along the way. Finally got home around 9 Monday night.
And, that's the life of a nomad.
We will travel once more here in Louisiana the first week of May. But, other than that, we will just be at Saline lake until July. ;)
We are looking forward to some relaxation (a little bit at least) and reading with the kids and routine. The kids are also signed up to play T-ball...fun-ness. I'm sure we'll have some VBS in June too. Lots of other things as well, but I'll write about those later. I LOVE summer...esp. summers in Saline. Looking forward to it.
The travels were great and we had no real troubles. Thanks so much for your prayers. The kids were healthy, had no mechanical issues. It was stressful, but seeing everyone and reconnecting was so GREAT!! I do have to say, though, that I'm glad it's over. Sigh.
So sorry it was 2 full months since I last updated. I'll write more soon hopefully, now that things are a bit more calm. Maybe some more weighty stuff...thoughts on the future, feelings about the present, and all that mumbo jumbo. ;) Just wanted to catch you all up to speed with our 'geography' though. Hope you are all doing well!!
Now just a few pictures to give a summary of the last few months...
Thanksgiving in the United States!! YAY!!!! Spent at Pastor Lou's house right on the ocean. Beautiful and SO American...I loved it!! ;)
Joel with his siblings...Danny, Angela, Andre, and Priscilla.
Fun with Grandma and cousins.
Being introduced to Grandpa's accordion.
Less than 24 hours after we arrived in Saline, our kids participated in a Christmas program...so fun. Grady was a shepherd (with some company from Uncle Tucker). Hadley and Eissa sang dressed up as angels, right next to cousins Kiley and Skylar.
Got to meet Aunt LeAnn...love her. She was Cass' favorite. ;)
Lots of fun times with cousins!
Grady's 6th birthday was January 3rd. He had a superhero birthday party.
Eissa was 3 in October, but we had a party here for her in February...she'd never had a party in the states with family before. She requested a ballerina party.
Got some snow while in Boston in December. Then got some more in Louisiana! This was at Mama's house...the house where I grew up. Love that view!! (note the horses down in the pasture)
At the conference I attended with some really fun friends, Nicole and Jen. So fun!!
The kids got to ride in my uncle's log truck.
At Tucker's last scheduled home game, the girls ran out and gave him a hug when they called his name. (Grady wasn't interested in running out in front of everyone :) )
Love those Saline basketball games!
Me with some friends from high school.
We got to ride on a school bus.
Hadley turned 5 Feb. 20th. We had a flower party for her as she asked for.
Granny and Papaw with their grandkids.
All ready for the state playoffs.
A picture of Tucker and Daddy (who is also Tucker's coach) that appeared in a newspaper after the state playoffs.
Our first stop, before Longview, was in Marshall to see our friends, Tracy and Teresa. Our kids had so much fun together.
At New Covenant (Church on the Rock) in Longview.
Grand Canyon. SO breathtaking.
One day in Phoenix...on a walk with the Woods fam. When we lived in Phoenix, our house faced this mountain. So pretty.
Back in Louisiana...Easter Sunday.
Lots of fun!!
Spring sprung while we were in Arizona. We got back and everything was so green and flowery and beautiful. This was taken in Granny's front yard. Gorgeous!
At John and Nicole's gorgeous house (actually in the back yard with friends) that they got hooked up with...gotta love foreclosures.
Fun on the slide.
Helpers in the kitchen.
All of our kiddos...of John and Nicole, Justin and Jen, and me and Joel.
This is how we were all feeling on Monday. So excited about being home for good for a while (well, except for one little trip in May, but we won't think about that right now). ;)
Don't have time to spell check, so hope you can figure this all out. Just wanted to catch you up to speed. Until next time...