Tuesday, April 24, 2007

And He's Off Again...

We've had a marvelous two weeks with Nathaniel. Catching up, looking at his pictures from Iraq, introducing him to our new home and friends. It's been mostly busy, with some relief now and then. Jim, Kate and Bekah are driving him to the Philadelphia airport as I type.

While here Nathaniel was able to experience a range of weather, mostly cold and dreary, some snow, ending with lovely warm Springtime temperatures. Right now the window next to me is open and I'm listening to the early morning birds and Isaac shooting hoops in the driveway as he waits for his bus. Not only did we have family and friend time, but Nathaniel was asked by several of the kids' teachers to come speak to their classes at school and Sunday School. He took his laptop and was able to show a slideshow of photos, some Google Earth images of where in the world he is over there, and answered lots of questions. We cooked some of his favorite foods besides doing a comprehensive survey of the local restaurants and I believe we all put on a few pounds each. There must be some Italian genes in our family somewhere, because we do a lot of eating when we're "sharing the love"!

All in all, it was a good visit. While this area isn't "home" to our eldest, he was home with us and the time spent together was precious. Now we pray for his continued safety in traveling back to the theater of operations, Philly to Atlanta, to Germany, to Kuwait, to Iraq. His job there is as safe as being in Iraq could be, but prayers for his safety and wisdom for his daily choices as well as his career decisions are most welcome. He's been fixing his helicopters, he's daily more ready to begin the process which will lead to flying them.

'Nuff said for now, on to the slideshow! (To read the captions, pass your mouse over the individual photos.)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Nathaniel's Home!

He's Here! Nathaniel arrived Easter Sunday, having flown from Iraq to Kuwait to Germany to Atlanta and finally to Philly! Without a cell phone he used a pay phone in Atlanta to inform us of his arrival time, then borrowed a cell phone to call us once his plane landed in Philly. We were, fortunately already waiting at the airport- as close to the gate as we could get- so we got him straight away. My parents were able to also be part of the welcoming committee as we all hugged, cried and photographed the event.

We had a fabulous and busy few days with the whole family together before my Dad left, then two more days with Mom. Showing Nathaniel the sights and introducing him to our new home has been interesting to say the least. And now we may even be able to take him sledding and have roaring fires in the fireplace since there is a severe winter storm bearing down on us... oh yeah.

There's too much to say this morning, so now for the photos and I'll flesh out what we've been doing in my next post!


Friday, April 06, 2007

Big catch up!

Wow, it's been too long since I've made the time to blog! Life has been coming at us fast now and since it won't be slowing down soon I'd better catch things up. The Reader's Digest version will have to do...

First of all, Spring was merely teasing us it seems, we ended up with a blizzard on the day that Kate and I had planned to drive across the state to see friends in Grove City! My forecast showed that the snow wouldn't be bad, and it would start late in the day. So Kate and I headed out in the morning to get North of the storm onto Interstate 80. We ended up driving into the teeth of the storm for almost 8 hours- never faster than 40 milers per hour- a trip that ought to have been 4 hours. It was worth it though, our visit with the Welkers was a blessing. Kate and Gabby picked up with their friendship right where they left off 8 years ago. It was fun to be with Lisa and Randy and their kids with the kids actually participating in our conversations instead of off playing in the next room the way our visits were so long ago. We delivered Gabby's airline tickets for her portion of our European vacation and laid down rule number 1: while in Europe, NO McFood! Our time flew and even though we added a day our departure came all too soon.

Since then we have started soccer practices for Isaac, continued archery, Kate went on a Senior class trip to Washington DC, Isaac won "Best Original Design" for his Pinewood Derby car which he, not Jim, designed, we repainted the family room, and waited as the weather slowly warmed.

We also welcomed Laura's family from Germany into our home for an authentic American meal while they are here on vacation. Jim and I dusted off our German for the evening and were surprised at how conversant we could yet be! The evening was so nice and the Groegers agreed to take our Kate in for her ten-day break from L'Abri in October. She'll need to leave Switzerland for her break, thus eliminating the need to apply for a visa.

For a few days last week we were actually opening the windows and wearing flip-flops. Last weekend we were all out in the yard cleaning the winter dreck out of the flower beds and finding many new spring plants working their way up into the sunshine. Now that Easter weekend is here and Papaw, (Barbaranne's father) arrived yesterday, it's cold again. Snow flurries even. I had forgotten how the Spring will tease us with warmth then cold before finally settling on warm weather up here. We are awaiting Grandmommy's arrival and a phone call from Nathaniel to let us know when to pick him up in Philadelphia. He should be leaving Iraq today for Kuwait, from where he will fly home for a two-week break. We're all on pins and needles...

Now for a slide show of what we've been up to. To see the captions just pass your mouse over the photo as it slides by. Enjoy!