I am sitting in the Wheaton Public Library, gazing out over my laptop screen to the winter wonderland of Adam’s Park. It’s one of those brilliantly sunny winter days, puffs of snow dropping from frosted branches and stubborn clumps of unfallen leaves. How I have missed the changing seasons! The past five months have been a time of rest and blessing for our family. Eliya finished up her time at Emerson Elementary School last week, and we have enjoyed family time and some special trips that we couldn’t do while she was in school. We took a trip to the Shedd Aquarium with my sister, Gayle, and her family. We went to the Brookfield Zoo and the Wheaton Historical Society. We also attended a Mom-to-Mom Christmas party yesterday, and have had a wonderful time with family and friends over the past few weeks–filling our tanks as we prepare to head back to Kenya. We have enjoyed joining a small group at church as well as having the chance to visit a few different adult classes. I have been especially blessed by Women’s Bible Study where we have spent the semester in the book of Joshua. I have found myself refreshed and challenged, gaining a renewed respect for the awesome God we serve, the blessing of being forgiven in Christ, and the need to remember and teach our children what the Lord has done. Eliya is finishing up gymnastics class this week, which she has thoroughly enjoyed. She took part in a special music class for children at our church on Sunday evenings. All the kids have loved their Wednesday Bible study, Kids’ Corner, as well as Sunday school classes. If we were to count up all the people that have invested formally in our kids’ lives this past fall, it would probably total over 40. And that doesn’t even count all the informal times with family and friends who love on our kids. It has been a joy to see our kids get to know their cousins and aunts and uncles better. We have lived just a couple of blocks from my brother, Brooks, and his family, and what a special joy that has been! We have seen Daniel go from being our very shy little boy to being very outgoing and passionate about firetrucks and “man boots” and “tacka tackas” (tractors). Eliya has proven herself to be a good student, enjoying the classroom atmosphere. She is looking forward to going back to homeschool in Kenya too, which is the route we will take for now. Carys struggled initally, but seems to have become more comfortable with life here. She is still eager to get back to Kenya and she still wears her Kenyan dresses most days. She often has a kind word for those around her. The other day she said, “Daddy is the best daddy in the whole world!” Then she paused and said with concern, “Do we need to tell all the other kids that their daddy isn’t the best daddy in the whole world?” Talia continues to flit about like a little fairy, still getting into all kinds of mischief, but full of delight and chortles, which makes the cleanup a little easier. 🙂 She and Daniel have enjoyed going to classes together and grocery shopping with Mommy in the double-kid carts at Aldi. I love Aldi. All our kids fight like cats and dogs and drive us crazy sometimes, but they are SO much fun and they DO go to sleep most nights, and we are very grateful for each one of them.
This weekend, we will leave to go spend about a week and a half in New York with Grandma and Grandpa Viands and Jamie’s sister and her family. On the way, we will stop and see my Grandma Porter, and my aunt and uncle and cousins in Morenci, MI, along with a college friend. We are greatly looking forward to this trip and the memories to be made to last for the next couple of years.
We plan to come back for the week of Christmas, pack up and then head out on January 1st for Kenya. Time has flown, and yet it has felt like a good amount of time to be here. Jamie is preparing his classes and is eager to get back to his students. I am looking forward to going back to our life in Kenya as well, although there is an ache that will probably just always be a part of our lives when we have people we love on different sides of the world.
Jamie is giving me time in the library, but it is fleeting, so I think the rest of this post will be in pictures. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this, well, Mommy’s blog! 🙂
I asked Carys what she likes to do with play dough. Her answer? “Play with it!” 🙂
Special cousin time with Gayle’s girls, Kristina and Kate
Thanksgiving with all of us under one roof for the first time since we left for Kenya over two years ago! 16 grandchildren, 15 adults, and we had a wonderful time.
Jamie’s heartstrings are tugged by Trevor and Gayle’s baby Joshua
Play time with cousins!
First snow, long-awaited
Aunt Emily and Baby Joshua and Susanna