Greg to Ana before leaving, “Ana, what are you most excited to do in the United States?” Ana responds, “I really can’t wait to see whether or not Aunt Kristin says I do.” Greg, “What is the second thing?” Ana, “Well, I can’t wait to go to church. I just love going to Bible class.” 🙂 Such a missionary kid answer from a kid that does Bible class with kids all younger than her.
Ana referring to the restaurant we pulled into, “Oh man. I LOVE Chicken-Fillet.”
Cohen being scared of the automatic toilet in the airport.
My mom purchased several different dresses for Ana to try on for the wedding. Ana to me, “Momma, did she buy this or rent it?” (Peru is a rental culture)
waiting for Pop as he looked through cows. We kept getting whiffs of farmland (aka manure) Maggie to me, “Momma, why does it smell like Peruvian cheese right here?” Ha!
We had a long lay-over in the Dallas airport on our way home. They have these really great carpeted areas with equipment to climb and play on and plenty of space to run. The first area where the kids played, I see Ana stand up on the plane in the middle of the area with all the other kids (mine and strangers) around her. “Okay!” she announces in a loud voice, “Now we are going to play a game, but you can only speak in Spanish.” I immediately called her name, and she came running over to me. I explained that we were now in the USA, and she couldn’t expect other kids to be fluent in both English and Spanish. Ha!
Fast forward to playing in another area in different wing of the airport… Ana finds a new friend wherever we go. Lo and behold I see her playing with a new friend that looks about 4 years old. I observe that she is chasing this little girl who is one of the “Three Little Pigs” and Ana is the “Wolf.” (My kids have recently taken a liking to the old classic Disney cartoons of the Three Little Pigs on Netflix). I motion her over to me. “Ana, you can’t play games like that with just anyone. A lot of little kids are scared of things like wolves. Can you pick something different to play with her?” Ana thinks for a moment, “Oh yeah, Mom. Like princesses?” I agree with her and say that it is a great idea to play princesses. Ana turns to the little girl, and this is what I overhear AG saying, “OK, you can be Snow White, and I can be the witch.” (me: head in palm) Ha!
We had been aware of our furlough dates for quite some time. I, of course, shared the plans with the kids and later regretted it because they asked for 6 months solid, “How much longer until the United States, Momma?” They were also aware that we were going to “the farm” aka “Gram and Pop’s house” for the first part of our trip. So “When are we going to the US?” changed to “When are going to Gram and Pop’s house?”
When we were finally in our first weeks of being in the USA, one Wednesday night at church my little Maggie was so worn out. She had played on the farm all day, and she was ready to go home and go to bed. We were in the church lobby area when she looked at me, and said, “Momma, I really want to go back to the United States.” It was at this point that I realized she equated the United States to “Gram and Pop’s house.” Ha!
I returned 2 weeks early so that I could attend my best friend’s wedding. My mom so graciously kept my kids for 3 extra days so that I could go see my best friend, spend some quality time with her before the wedding, and be there child-free. I was so excited to see them when they arrived with my parents to the actual wedding. Cohen is my little boy with two older princess-loving sisters. He is very aware of princess lingo. I was so excited to show Jeannie, the bride, my little boy that isn’t so little anymore. I took him up to the bridal chamber and when he saw Jeannie, he immediately commented, “Momma, look! A “PIN-SESS!” I thought that was so sweet.
The funny came toward the end of the wedding. After the ceremony, eating, visiting, and dancing, it was well past my kids’ bedtime. Jeannie and Siran were making their exit in front of the building where the reception had been held. As we were walking around to the front as a family, I noticed Cohen was very sleepy-eyed. He looked up at me and said, “Momma, I tired. No more pin-sess. No more pincess.” Ha!
I realize that moms can go to pinterest and find anything they want for craft ideas. We are with my MIL this week, and she found the following idea in a good-ole fashioned magazine. I appreciate crafts and recipes that are easy to do with kids. I especially appreciate them when I actually have the ingredients in Peru! These were too cute, and the kids had an absolute blast with their Memaw and cousins making them…
chocolate cake mix
Make cupcakes out of cake mix. Allow to cool and ice them generously.
Take Oreos and separate the cookies so that the white is on one side. Use the whites on cookie from two cookies for the two eyes.
Add M&M’s in the middle of the whites (use a little chocolate icing as “glue”).
Push one M&M into the icing below the eyes for the beak.
Add sprinkles for fun.
Thanks, Memaw, for a super fun and delicious activity!!!
I am beyond excited to see my little sister tomorrow morning. She will fly into Arequipa at 7:30. It has been a year since I have seen any of my family. Katy is arriving, spending less than a week with us, and then she will be flying with the three kids and me back to the states. The only time Katy visited was when I gave birth to Maggie. That was more than FOUR years ago. So much has changed, and I am so excited to show her AQP again with new eyes.
I am beyond excited for our state-side visit as well. It has been a year since our last visit. Greg and I are scheduled to leave Peru permanently in 2015 so this is our last furlough for this run. It is definitely bitter-sweet to think that our return to Peru from furlough will also be our last for a long while. While in the states, we will be doing some visiting with TA 2.0 members (the families moving to AQP in 2014) which is really exciting.
Anyway… lots to be excited about.
I am not a fan of airports, and if I am honest, I always get a little nervous before flying. I worry which I know I shouldn’t. I worry about things that are out of my hands so worrying really doesn’t help anything. We have flown a lot since we live in a foreign country, but that hasn’t helped. And it always seems like we can never fly home without some sort of drama. Paperwork or delays or kids getting sick before leaving, etc. I thought I would record it this time around (especially since this is our last furlough to take for awhile)…
1. I noticed that there is only an hour and 40 minutes between my arrival to Lima and our departure to the states. If you account for possible delays out of AQP + waiting for bags to come out (which sometimes takes forever) + standing in line to check-in for the international flight + going through immigrations + hauling 3 kids through an airport, you can see my worry.
I am so thankful that Katy will be helping me with luggage and kids and that Lima is overly gracious to those of us with children (as in, they will see me with 3, guide me to the front of the line, and even escort me through immigrations if we are tight in making our connection). I am also thankful for my children. I really am not nervous at all about traveling with my kids. They are great travelers. Having mis-behaving kids is a stressor that I am so thankful that I DON’T have to deal with.
2. Peruvian law states that in order for a parent to leave the country with children without the other parent (and this applies to Peruvian citizens only–Maggie and Cohen are citizens), they must have a signed, notarized letter stating permission from the parent staying back. I have traveled with kids by myself two different times, and they always ask for the letter. I have a friend that traveled to Lima from AQP, and they refused for her to pass immigrations to catch her flight without the written consent of her spouse.
Greg and I went to the notary office yesterday. Of course, the notary had already gone home and today is a holiday. We were told that we could come on Monday to get it done. Easy-peasy, until the secretary told Greg something we weren’t expecting… “You need the birth certificate for each child.” That’s right. Their passport isn’t enough to prove they were born. You may think, “What’s the big deal? Just bring the birth certificate you have in your file at home.” We would, except that Peru has this crazy deal where birth certificates are only valid for 6 months. I guess it is one way they make money for the government (“Hey, let’s require people to show their birth certificates for every possible thing, but make it where they have to buy a new copy every half-year. Think of all the money that will bring in!”). Greg doesn’t remember us having to show their birth certificates the last time we got the letters. We are hoping the secretary is wrong.
We get home, and Greg realizes something else. Their birth certificates (proving that WE are their parents) have our residential visa numbers on them for the proof. Our residential visas expired this past year! They make you fingerprint everything here, so now we are hoping that they can identify us by our fingerprints. Never a dull moment.
So… I am so excited to see Katy. And I am so excited to be traveling to my home country. I am just praying that we get there without any major drama. It is out of my hands, and honestly, I am to the point in this culture where I laugh at the drama that unfolds every.single.time we have to do something like this. I am just praying that Katy arrives safely and that we arrive safely to the states (whether it be on-time or majorly delayed). We shall see. One more week.
Ana’s favorite holiday is Halloween. Why? I have no idea. Though Halloween has increasingly gotten more and more popular throughout the four years we have lived in Peru, it is nothing like it is in the states. So when I heard that Cedar Lane was hosting their annual “Trunk-or-Treat” the last weekend we were home, I was so thrilled. Ana and Maggie had no clue what was coming.
My mom participated with her trunk, and she helped me get the kids ready in their costumes. It was so much fun, and I have to give a big shout-out to my sis-in-law, Marci, for handing down Abigail and Emily’s costumes to AG and MK, and to Andrea Abrahams for letting me borrow one of Liam’s costumes. The kids had a blast. They have now experienced true “trick-or-treating” (I guess to an extent). And there were no melt-downs when we left the candy behind. It was a great experience all-around…
We are home. We left Arequipa at 6:30 pm Monday afternoon, and we arrived to my parent's house around 6:30 pm Tuesday afternoon. Tid-bits from the trip…
there was a hoard of people trying to fly stand-by on our flight from Lima to Miami. If Greg had booked our flight one day earlier, we would have been with them.
Cohen ran a fever that we didn't notice until on our way from Arequipa to Lima. The Lima airport has a pharmacy that sells children's medicine. Praise God that made him feel better. Note to self: always pack children's Tylenol in carry-on just in case (I had some packed in our luggage).
Except for Cohen (who felt bad and lied there with his eyes open nearly the whole flight), the girls slept the entire two flights (Lima and Miami).
our kids were absolute troopers during our 8-hour layover in Miami. Then they were absolute troopers during our one-hour delay sitting in the plane to go to Nashville.
Cohen was DONE when Mom picked us up, but he calmed himself, made the trip home, took a bath, ate a little something, took some medicine, and slept from 7:30 pm to 10 am the next morning!
We sat on a small plane from Miami to Nashville. Guess who flew with us? 15 9-12 year-old Peruvian soccer players on their way to NYC. None of them knew English. They couldn't believe they were sitting with Arequipeños.
I forgot how delicious yellow squash tastes.
The little things: green grass, wide open spaces, driving, Funyuns, Sun-Drop, Colby-Jack cheese slices, sandwich bread, tasty bacon, a pool in the backyard, the farm, grandparents to baby-sit…
And we have only just begun. Thanks for praying for our trip. More pictures to come. Farmington now has WiFi! We are excited to see so many of you. CL peeps, we will be at church tonight. Looking forward to seeing so many of you there. 🙂
5. kicking off a university age class on “The Jesus I Never Knew”
6. Greg working on the missions journal
7. 7 interns for two months (3 of those living in our home)
8. solar campaign (they arrive this Friday)
9. library work
10. PMS (Peruvian Missions Summit) in Cusco– where we meet with two other mission teams in Peru to discuss our work and be together
AND THEN …
FURLOUGH!!! Greg sent me our itinerary today. We officially have our tickets to the states in August where we cannot wait to see so many of you.
It is a whirlwind here and a complete blessing, but we are so ready for a time of renewal and a time to see friends and family from our home country. In the midst of this whirlwind, I wanted to take a moment to really be excited about it and share it with you.