Friday, July 11, 2014

Hanging Out

Life in transition here in CA is moving along well! We are so excited to live near some family for the first time in almost 7 years. Here is a picture of the girls with Jon's cousin's sons. (Of course, his cousin is named Jen!) It's great to reconnect with Jen, Gabe, and the boys. Both boys were so sweet with the girls--especially Kate, who kept talking their ears off. :)

We spent one night at Jon's aunt and uncle's hose (Sorry, I didn't get a picture of you guys!! That will have to change!), then we drove down to San Pedro, where the military temp housing is located. What an amazingly beautiful place! It's right on the water, and you can see the piers of the Port of Los Angeles just over the fence. How fun to think that's the exact place our stuff was off-loaded when the container ship arrived! Our temp housing had plenty of room to spread out, but their availability lasted only five nights.  
The port where our stuff came in

Jon and I spent those five days house-hunting like crazy. Thanks a million to JoAnn, who came and spent two days with us while Jon and I scoured the city for places to live. After she went home, we ended up taking the kids with us, which was nice because they could give a little input on what we were seeing. Also, it gave the landlords a chance to meet the whole family, which turned out to be good for us b/c we found a house while the kids were with us. We get to move in next week, and are so excited! The girls will be so close to their school, and Jon will be only 3 miles from work. We're just a few miles to the beach, and we hope to have some great neighbors. Our landlords have two homes on one lot (common for this area of LA) and we have the front home while they live in the back. We hope to have a good relationship with them like we did with our wonderful landlords from Germany (miss you guys!!). We are so grateful that both shipments of our stuff will be delivered on the same day next week, and if we could just get some info on our minivan (still in transit) we'd be all set. But things will come, and are trying to be patient and deal with things as they come.
So now we wait and are living in a hotel that's walking distance from Jon's work. The girls and I are enjoying swimming at the pool each afternoon (their tan lines are already setting in) and we're trying not to go stir crazy sometimes in the mornings. But there are items we need (like a fridge, washer/dryer, beds for the girls, etc) and we're working on getting those items as well. It's slowly coming together and it will be an interesting few days when we're in our house with nothing but what we brought on the plane! But we're borrowing linens and towels and hopefully an air mattress or two, and I'm sure the girls will love "camping" in our house.

The girls, hanging out in the hotel room.

reading with Daddy

LOVING the dresses hand-made by Nana!

 While it's really fun to have a pool here at he hotel, it's also sometimes a logistical nightmare trying to get everyone dressed appropriately, with the correct eyewear, carrying a towel, etc. But we're getting faster at it--practice makes perfect--and I hope to make a similar plan when we start going to the beach. We attempted the beach only one time so far which was a lot of fun, but takes quite a bit of forethought with all three girls, one of whom has no fear of the ocean or understanding of the danger of the water. And if you've ever been to the beach, you know how much stuff you have to cart with you! But still, an adventure we're willing to take on. So plan to come visit us! We'll have plenty of room when we get moved in. Stay tuned!
Ready for the pool


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Friends and family

What a blessing it is to be with family again! We are soaking up every minute. In just two weeks we'll be in southern CA house-hunting, so we'll enjoy all the free time we can get. 
Ellie and Grandpa enjoying some ice cream

Nana, Kate, and Miranda on the other side of the table

Reading a book with Uncle Evan

My dear friend, sweet sister, and their kids--what a group!

Gram and the girls

My sweet niece

Oojaboojy chubbers nephew with his Uncle Jon

Pedicures for my sister's special birthday!!

Wearing aprons from two jobs I used to have

Even Uncle Dave got in on the fun

Sonic!! Thanks, Allison! :)

Making new friends with some of my old friends' kids

Special time with our sweet great Gramie

Chik-Fil-A playdate with new friends (my long-time friend's daughters)
And our time in Colorado isn't finished yet! We miss our time in Germany, but are grateful for this respite before the next duty station.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Saying Auf Wiedersehen

This last week we left the land of delicious bretzels, beer, gummis, cheese, wurst and baked goods in general, and arrived back in the good ol' US of A. Of course, our departure from Germany was so bittersweet! We have been so blessed by all the wonderful people we've met over the last 3 1/2 years. I won't begin to name them all because I would definitely forget some! But we are so grateful for the opportunity to live in such an amazing place and meet so many unforgettable people.

Great American neighbors

Sweet long-time friends and now our kids are friends!

Dear German neighbors

Almost a member of the family!

Sweet friends

Friends for the whole family

Our wonderful landlords and more adoptive family members

Our diminished yet still awesome small group

See you in the States!!
Kate's teacher

More wonderful German neighbors

All the incredible MOPS moms! You all rock.

Mr. and Mrs. Wolf who always know what time it is.

Classmates and friends
New neighbors we had to leave too soon
Gotta love a lot of Jens. :)

The incredible ladies at the girls' German kindergarten who loved ours as their own

Two peas in a pod, albeit two continents apart

We love and miss you all already! And there are so many more I don't have pictures of, but again, we are profoundly grateful to you all for being our family overseas. Know you are all welcome to visit in CA...once we get there!
The girls did a great job on the plane rides, watching tv and enduring the long flight from Frankfurt to Denver (9 1/2 hrs!!). Ugh.
How they looked during most of the long flight.
She was a champ--slept only about 1 hr but did great walking around and making friends.

At last, after 45 min waiting in the customs line with our eight checked bags and five carry ons, we got to see the wonderful family who endured our 3 1/2 year absence and welcomed us with excited and open arms.


Sacked out at 6pm (2 am Germany time)
 Auf Weidersehen, liebe Deutschland!! Vielen Dank!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday, Ellie!

On May 13, our sweet Ellie turned 5. Where does the time go? It seems only yesterday she was our little baby and we were moving to Germany. Now Miranda is the baby and we're about to leave Germany!
We had a wonderful time celebrating Ellie's birthday. She wanted to go to Mainau Island, which is a beautiful island in the large freshwater lake on the borders of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Actually, she wanted to go to the butterfly house there and get a butterfly to land on her finger. After lots and lots of tries...birthday wish granted! We were doubly blessed as our sweet friend, Isabel, was able to skip school and join us. Even though the weather wasn't great, we had a great time celebrating our little blonde sweetie.
About to blow out her candles
Celebrating at her kindergarten
 Below are a few pictures of our special girl from our recent trip to the UK. We had a wonderful time--what a beautiful place! How amazing to enjoy this incredible trip with our three littles.
Enjoying Shakespeare's hometown with a little Frisbee action

Lunch in Salisbury
 If you travel with small children, you quickly realize they can become bored even in the most incredible locations. So we often resort to taking crazy-face pictures and being silly in front of the camera because they love to see themselves in the pictures.

Case in point at Stonehenge

Waiting for the tube

The cutest statue at the York Minster

Our sweet blossom amid the tulips

C'mon, butterfly, work with the birthday girl!

Thank you for joining us, Isabel!
Ellie is such a delight to our family. She is silly, compassionate, thoughtful, funny, and fun to be around. She loves cuddling up with a book or running around outside. She still sleeps with her lovey and her thumb, and would sleep with her sisters if they'd let her! Her laugh is infectious and she is a grump in the morning. :) She'll correct your German pronunciation while forgetting the corresponding English word. She's never met a sweet she didn't like, and is always up for adventure. We love you, Elliana Hope! You enrich our lives so greatly, and we thank the Lord for you every day.