First three weeks in the States

Today is marks three weeks in the States.  How are we doing?  How has it been?  What is strange?

Well, surprisingly, we haven't had too much shock.  We took the first week to try and adjust and rest a bit, do some shopping and settling, my sister visited, and we ate some great food.  Other than adjusting to the time, it was a nice week.
Nathanael and Eva love the space here at my parents' home in Kansas.  It is novel to them.  They have a new level of freedom.  But most of all, they love being with family.
I turned a year older this week.  I can't complain about my DQ cake!
We've had funny moments of forgetting cultural norms (like my greeting people with cheek-kisses instead of hugs or handshakes), and we've smiled at the cultural differences such as how friendly and talkative waiters and clerks are.

In most ways, Vienna is our home now.  It's all our kids really know, so they are really freaked out by wearing their shoes in homes and riding in cars everywhere, and they find big yellow school buses and lines of semis strange.  All of this has been mostly expected though.

One surprise has been how encouraged we have been by the times we've spent with ministry partners.  We have really wanted to be a blessing and encouragement to others, but we have walked away from each gathering feeling so abundantly loved and blessed.  On top of that, our kids have really enjoyed getting to know these special people, and they're regularly asking when we get to go visit more people!  Thank you, God, for this gift.


The Whirlwind Month of January

So January was simply crazy for us.  Our kids ended up doing a lot of this:
Gregory was in the hospital for a couple nights for testing.  The kids and I got the flu a week before our flights to the States.  Oh yes, and then there were all of the preparations to be away from home for almost seven months.  What a month!

In the midst of that, we celebrated Gregory's 35th birthday.  I barely pulled off baking a gluten-free peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake, just before collapsing with illness.  It was delicious, but we threw almost half of it away because of the flu and flying. :(
Flights were much better than we could have imagined, thanks to in-flight entertainment, snacks, and lots of walks around the plane.
Neither kid slept on the eleven hour trans-atlantic flight, but that was no surprise.  We ate at Chili's in the Chicago airport (chips and salsa!!!) and then passed the remaining 2-3 hours playing in their awesome play area.
Once we boarded our flight to Kansas City, Eva completely lost it, wailed for about five (very long) minutes, and then fell asleep.  I was barely able to wake her to get her off the plane, and then she ran immediately into Grandpa and Grandma's arms (to their extreme delight)!  Both kids slept the entire two hour drive to their home, and then began the long week of trying to adjust to the time change!