Nope. This isn’t part 2 of our story. Just an update since my blogger hiatus.
What have we been up to for the last 8-10 weeks?
Avery asked Keith to dance with her stuffed Dumbo, who had dressed up for the occassion. We were all the captive audience. As you can see, Garrison is thoroughly enjoying the show.
At the end of July I loaded up the family, minus Keith, with Simon as my narcoleptic co-pilot and made the 11-hour drive to Oklahoma. After nearly a week with family and friends, I packed everyone back into the van and drove 8 hours to Houston. Lucky for the kids that Keith flew in for the final weekend with his parents so that I didn’t have to make the 12-hour trip home alone.
Saying our goodbyes in Oklahoma.
In Texas, the kids and their cousins made tie dye shirts and onesies for the new baby...with a little help from me.
Although shockingly I have no funny stories to tell about my travels, I could tell you about a mom who prepared for everything but Armageddon. To eliminate stopping for meals, I packed baggies full of nuts, fruit, veggies, chicken, and even more veggies. Plus one package of fruit snacks each. I am not the cool mom. No, sir. Each child had a cup of water, but I forbade them to drink any because of the no-stopping-for-a-potty-break philosophy. The seat pocket in front of each child was stocked with coloring supplies, a lacing toy for idle hands, and a trash/vomit bag with very clear instructions on what to do with it. They were also strongly encouraged to fill their backpacks with a blanket for naps in the van, a change of clothes just in case, plus an electronic game with ear buds so I wouldn’t have to listen. I have zero complaints about the entire experience, except that I missed my husband, and would do it more often if it weren’t for that.
We arrived home in time to unpack and get groceries before our friend Bisrat (visiting from Ethiopia) flew in. The kids and I kept him entertained for the week, and Keith joined us the latter part of his stay for some touristy expeditions in Atlanta.
In addition to poking fun at the volume of pillows with which Americans adorn their beds, especially guest beds, he enlightened us as to the low down, and I mean way low down, on Ethiopia. Although it’s nothing I can post here, it hasn’t dissuaded us from going. And, while it still seems a relatively safe place for foreigners, specifically Americans, we are grateful certain family members are not privy to such information. In fact, were we making this decision 15 or 20 years down the road, we probably wouldn’t be facing it with as much enthusiasm. But, with youth comes naivety, even in the midst of knowledge.
Sadly, we captured the majority of our experiences on Bisrat’s camera, and these 2 blurry shots are the only ones to show you. Ivan, who has been known to be sent to bed after dinner, was rewarded one evening for who knows what by getting to stay up 10 minutes past his siblings and teach Bizzy how to play Xbox.
The zoo was part of his ATL tour, but he escaped all the pics we took.
Here the kids are with one of their BFFs Worth.
Seriously, my kids are so stinkin' cute!
Avery, the ferocious tiger.
Then we had the super fun, never-ending, amazing wedding on Labor Day. Two of our very best friends got hitched in Atlanta over the course of a 4-day celebration. Yes, my dress was fabulous, but did you see the very handsome and sexy Keith in any facebook photos? If his job required him to wear a white button up and suspenders every day, there’s not a whole lot that would get done.
Thankfully, this was one of those kid-free weddings, so I divvied out the kids to the homes of 4 friends and didn’t think twice.
The following weekend our kids experienced all things beachy for the first time when we took our first ever. Yes, ever. Family vacation. Destination: Orange Beach, Alabama. Not the swankiest of retreat areas for adults or kids, but it was free. And, even better is that our getaway was with 2 more of our best friends and their kids.
I need to teach this gal some modesty!
So that Megan and I could have some quality beach time, Keith and Mr. Chris took the kids to some kind of museum. I didn't ask too many questions. I mean, we were getting a few hours without our kids. The guys could have told us they were taking the kids to learn how to throw knives and I wouldn't have batted an eye.
Next on the agenda was the biggest yard sale ever! I mean, EVER. The idea was a smallish fundraiser to get rid of the purged items in Round 1. We were overwhelmed by how much our fellow church members brought in to sell. Overwhelmed in the good sense that, “Gee, this is awesome how much people are supporting us. I feel so loved.” But also overwhelmed as in, “Are you kidding me? We’ve got less than 2 days to sort through the mounds of crap…I mean items to sell…that people have dumped on us…I mean donated. And, there is no end in sight.”
We just weren’t prepared for the department-store level of set up we’d have to do. Although I lost count of how many full trailer loads of donations Keith unloaded, it was such a blessing. We raised enough money for about half the airfare needed for our family to move. And, a sweet friend has already offered to host another one at the end of October to sell some of the leftovers.
A few days later, the paternal grandparents showed up for a 4-day visit. They headed home the same day Keith left for a scheduled “work” trip. Sunday night we returned from Tennessee, the home of some friends who took our newest family pictures. Much more on that weekend later. And, of course I’ll plaster the rest of the pics on here when we get them.