Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Never Once

Again, we are all settled. An uneventful day of taxis and flights and more taxis and hotels.

Well, almost uneventful.

Jordan (the country,) decided they weren't going to do daylight savings time anymore back when we "Fell back," but then the country was all in an uproar so they reinstituted it. Apparantly some of the wires got crossed and airlines and travel booking websites couldn't quite figure out what time our flights were really at.

We made it, so that is what counts.

(on a side note, our iPhones couldn't figure out what time it was either, so I ended up leaving it like it was and just constantly subtracting an hour when I looked at it.)

We are settled into our hotel apartment and looking forward to/dreading the next several weeks all in one breath.

Ian had his meeting with his potential employer today and it looks good! We should have the contract in hand tomorrow and the weekend to look it over. If all is good, he should be starting this Sunday, February 2nd! He's really excited about the position, (I mean, as excited as Ian ever gets, which is not much, ever.) and he's looking forward to starting on this new endeavor.

I, on the other hand, am in slight panic mode. Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful that the Lord provided this job for Ian and that it was the job we've been praying about for so long. It's just that I've never really done the "stay at home mom," thing. Well, I've been home, but Ian's worked at home for the last 2 and a half years, so he's always been around! But, starting Sunday, I will be doing what so many of you do on a normal basis, and I am pretty freaked out.

Mainly, I'm worried about the whole hotel apartment living situation. We have no toys for the girls (NONE,) and are confined to about 200 sq feet. Tight quarters! There are no parks our playgrounds within walking distance and we probably won't have a car for a month! Taxis can get us just about anywhere but when you add up the expense of the taxi, plus whatever you are doing, plus the stress of going out with a 1 and a 2 year old in a taxi (without car seats,) I'm just not sure it is worth it.

And, just for memory sake, here is how our conversation went after Ian walked in the door from his interview:
B: How'd it go?
I: It went well! They still have that position open and they want me to take it!
B: That's great? So when can we get our visas?
I: I don't know, I didn't ask that.
B: Okay, so when can we get a car?
I: Not until we get our visas.
B: Okay, so when can we get our house?
I: Not until we get our visas.
B: Okay, so when do you start? When you get the visa, the car, and the house?
I: No, this Sunday.
B: *crickets*
I: What?
B:Are you sure you don't want ME to start working this Sunday?

(and, truth be told, I actually cried a little bit when I found out that it was happening so soon. Grace has been having a really hard time with this transition and pushing the limit constantly. It's been the most draining stretch of parenting so far. So yes, I'm not looking forward to the next month, but I am looking forward to my expectations being confirmed or redeemed, ha!)


And I know in a month I will look back and this will all be a fun memory. "You remember that time we lived in a hotel room with 1 year old and a 2 year old for a month, without anything to entertain them with besides McDonald's toys?"

But for now, I'm clinging to His promises of peace and patience and loving Matt Redman's song Never Once.

And if that isn't enough craziness for one post, this is just a heads up that my blog will be under construction through this weekend. Please excuse any mishaps or issues!

Monday, January 20, 2014

We're Making It

Well, we made it. In case you missed it, we finished up our time in the States, packed everything up and headed to the airport.

Us and our twenty pieces of luggage. Yes, that's right TWENTY.
6 trunks
4 suitcases
3 duffel bags
2 car seats
1 double jogging stroller and
4 carry on pieces

It took us nearly an hour and a half just to check in because our carry on bags were over the weight limit and I had to run into the terminal buy a new piece of luggage and run back out to lessen all of our loads. Then that new piece of luggage was checked in also. Whew!

I have NEVER had my hand luggage/carry on pieces weighed. EVER. And, because of that, we always make our carry on pieces the heaviest/densest things. We fill it with our computers, cords, hard drives, Bibles, books, and Ian's heavy shoes (ha!).

We made it through security rather easily and took the tram out to our departing terminal. There we stopped for a quick Burger King dinner (because nothing says "I'm about to sit on an airplane for 9 hours. Twice." Like fast food, right?) and got to our gate with only a couple of minutes to spare. We both got bathroom breaks then the gate called for any strollers so Ian had to take ours down.

(sidenote, when we bought our awesome double jogging stroller in August I had found a bag to put it in to protect it during travel, but didn't buy it. Fast forward four months later and that bag was DISCONTINUED! I couldn't find a bag anywhere, after three hours of searching online, that would fit our dimensions so I had to have a bag custom made. Ridiculous.)

Almost immediately our gate started loading and we made our way down the aisles with four carry on pieces and two car seats. We got the car seats installed pretty easily then settled in. The plan was to just occupy the girls with the stuff around them for the first hour, get them in their pajamas, do the night time routine, and have them go to sleep shortly after the meal service was over.

Well, an hour in the meal service hadn't even started so we went ahead with the plan and the girls were asleep within half an hour. Sophia slept for almost 3 hours in her carseat and then woke up disoriented and I was able to get her back asleep on my chest. Grace slept for 5 or 6 hours and then both girls were up for the last hour and a half or so of the flight.

We landed in Frankfurt, Germany, where we have missed a connection before and hoofed our way through the airport (without our stroller since it had been checked all the way to Abu Dhabi) and made it to our gate with only five minutes to spare! We got loaded on the next plane, let the girls eat during the meal service, and then tried to get them to nap. They both napped for about two 30 minute naps but that was it. The rest of the time was us keeping them quiet with toys and TV. It wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst either.

We landed in Abu Dhabi around 10 pm, went through immigration, and collected our luggage. We actually got flagged in the "nothing to declare" line because of how many bags we had, and, of course, my bag was the one they chose to open. Nothing like landing in a restrictive, conservative, Arab country only to have your bag with your unmentionables opened by a male guard. Luckily he was as embarrassed as me and had the female guard open it up and search it. Of all the bags, that was the only one they searched!

We got two taxi vans, loaded up our stuff, and made the 20 minute drive out to our hotel apartment. It was past midnight by the time we had checked in, got all of our bags up to a room, switched to a non smoking room, and got the girls beds set up.

My mind's a little foggy but I'm pretty sure we all slept until almost nine AM that morning, only waking to pull Grace into bed with us when she woke up disoriented.

We spent the next four days just hanging out in Abu Dhabi, seeing old friends, moving our luggage to our friends' houses, and getting over jet lag. Grace had no real issues but Sophia's eating schedule was all off and she woke up at about 11 pm (right when we would have crawled into bed,) and would drink two bottles! After that she slept all night!

On Saturday, January 5th, we woke up early, loaded up a rental car, and headed to the airport again, this time to Amman, Jordan. We were traveling to attend a conference and leadership training there. Our flight was on a much nicer airline and we had a bit of leg room- even though Sophia was a lap child on this flight. The girls only napped briefly but it was only a three hour flight, but that was nothing compared to our two nine hour flights just days before.

We've adjusted and settled in for our training and are enjoying our time in this neat city. Our days are long and filled with classroom type learning (I forgot how hard it is to sit still and pay attention for long stretches!) while the girls are in childcare. The girls are excited to see us in the afternoon but we usually have only two hours with them before their bedtime.

It was very cold for our first week and a half here but it has warmed up a bit and isn't too bad. We have one more week left and then will be heading back to Abu Dhabi for Ian to, hopefully, start his new job! We are so excited for what this means for our family and to have a home and roots again.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Pearl of Great Price

It's been radio silence here for awhile, I know. I've been at a loss for words and have been lacking in the motivation department. 

My Grandma passed away two weeks ago. A beautiful lady of God who raised three children, including my mom, by herself and who had the best work ethic. 

She served her local church with her gift of music (organ, piano, and handbells,) for decades and had endless amounts of energy. She loved to garden and maintained her house and lawn by herself until recently. All of my memories of her have been playing over and over again in my head. 

You see, when I got word that she had passed away it was via a text at 3 am in our Abu Dhabi hotel room. We had 2 more hours of sleep until we were to be up for our early morning flight to Jordan. I cried into my pillow and willed myself to get some more sleep. 

When our 5 am alarm went off, I told Ian the news, hugged him, and had to kick into gear. We had a plane to catch and it wasn't to go back to the States for a funeral. Mourning came in bits and pieces over the next couple of days. 

Many years ago we made a decision as a couple. We saw the gift of new life that had been given to us and knew that this gift was worth everything we had. We put aside our own worldly dreams and goals (through a continual refining process,) for our lives, left behind our loving family and friends, and moved thousands of miles around the globe to be with a people who had not yet discovered the gift of new life. 

There are times when we look back at what we left behind and yearn for a different life. We ask ourselves if it is worth the heartache. Wouldn't it be easier if .... Wouldn't we be better off? Isn't it my right to mourn with my family?

My Grandma would have been the first to tell me that it is worth it all. she would tell me to look straight in front of me at the task at hand, remain focused, love deeply, and never regret the choice that we have made. 

I am so grateful for the example my Grandma was for me, my family, and all that met her. I wish I could have been there to honor her and the life that she lived. She was beautiful both inside and out. 

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.   -Matthew 13:45-46 emphasis mine

I hold in my hands that pearl and see all that I sold it for, but my grandma, she would have said that the pearl was worth the price. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Grace's New Year's Interview 2014

We haven't had alot of internet over the last two weeks and I have been trying to post during this time but haven't had alot of luck. Finally, I was able to get a page loaded and hopefully this means I am back in the thick of things! Alot to catch up on, alot of new thoughts.

But first, our first New Year's Interview with Grace....

And, in case you couldn't understand it...

B-What's your name?

B-How old are you?

B-What is your favorite color?

B-What is your favorite juice?
G-Chocolate milk (awesome.)

B-What is your favorite snack?
G-Fruit snacks

B-What is your favorite toy to play with?
G-Kitty-cat (I have no idea what she means.)

B-What is your favorite game to play with Mommy and Daddy?

B-What is your favorite TV Show?
G-Kitty-Cat (again, no clue.)

B-What is your favorite movie?
G-Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story, but she's never really seen it.) No like, Bug's Life (we had a traumatic Bug's life experience at Animal Kingdom.)

B-What is your favorite song?
G-It Is Well! (yes, I know, she's an odd two year old.)

B-When you are a big girl, what do you want to be?
G-(No answer, apparantly she is have a future career crises.)