Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Count Your Blessings...

(okay.  Just for the record, I hate that song.  It gets on my nerves quickly.)

Time for the Wednesday 7- a weekly listing of blessings and a chance to remember how blessed we are despite how circumstances make us feel.

~4 beautiful happy mostly healthy kids.

~Dear friends who still love me and encourage me to make new friends.  Friends who tell me they miss me and allow me to miss them.

~A husband who works hard to provide for our family while realizing God's ultimate provision.

~The gift of culture shock.  Hear me out, people.  I get to be completely aware that my life is completely different.  There is no illusion, no something feels off, no pretending.  This is way different, and I have only two choices.  I can either step up to the challenge or go back to bed.

~I chose to get out of bed today.

~A great mall close by that makes me feel like I get a break from all the different.

~Skype.  Seriously, how did/do people live without it in these situations?

~The biggest blessing- the opportunity to learn that a lot of little blessings can last you farther than you ever realized.

My Flower Girls

Chloe Marie- 9 in July

Camilla Rose- 5 in August

Coralynn Mae- 1 in May

Monday, March 28, 2011

Can you say "comfort zone"?

Rule Numero Uno when moving to a foreign country:  Find something familiar and run with it.  For me it's my favorite combination of eating and shopping.  So today, we went to the mall.  But in the name of daring and adventure, we tried a mall we had never been to.  Ooooohhhh.  Be impressed.  Yes, indeed, the kids, Grandma, and I hit the road.  We not only found the mall, but we found it on the first try!

After some shopping, we decided to check out the food court.  Kids got ice cream, Grandma got cookies, and I got una limonada.  (such a local I am!)  I have been working with the kids that we can't make fools out of oursleves or behave in a manner unflaterring to Americans.  Today, we got over ourselves.  I managed to take pictures of us eating, and, to prove the foolishness of the A. family, the kids danced like, well, like kids to the music and light show in the food court.  By the time we left, there was no question everyone in the food court was staring at us- with smiles. 

Restrained and behaved is good.  FINALLY hearing the kids laugh uncontrollably is better!

                                                      The kids and their ice cream.

                                                                 The very happy Bits!

                                                                        Una limonada.


                                                      Breaking loose with our moves!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A classic.


So I know it is cliche, but I love so big!  (even if she is the Bits!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Now to Now.

We are almost to the present day. 

March 9- Movers come to pack up our stuff.  I'm acutely aware that this is just stuff and has no true value in my life.  Those goodbyes will come later.  Denial ensues.  We move into a hotel.

March 11- Luncheon with a few people whom I have to tell exactly how they changed my life while I was in LaGrange.  These are my For-A-Time-Such-As-This Ladies.  Not necessarily people I spent the most time with, but people who picked my life up off of one path, and placed it on a better one.  Perhaps the greatest 90 minutes ever.

March 12- The house is completely empty.  Walking around it is surreal.  Seeing an empty baby's room with sweet Coralynn's name on the wall brings me to tears.

March 13- Carson's 7th birthday and our last Sunday at church.  Carson surprises us all by experiencing a PAINFUL goodbye.  None of us are expecting it, and everyone is stunned by the guttural reaction.  Chloe says goodbye to Libby.  I feel like I'm walking the Green Mile as I go to pick her up.  Amazingly, it goes well enough.  I'm relieved.  More goodbyes at church.  The real hurt is coming.

March 14- I get diagnosed with a UTI.  Seriously, God, now?  We spend the afternoon swimming with the Estes and then have dinner together.  The kids say their goodbyes.  It's touching.  We say good-bye to Mr. Shawn.   Hurt is full on - like going from an 8 to 10 during laobr.  There is no epidural for this transitioning, though.

March 15- Move day.  It's raining.  Fitting.  Run a few more errands.  All this feels like pointlessness.  Then, we say final goodbyes to more friends.  Thankful our husbands are there.  Keeps the drama down.  Go to Amelia's to load up the church van.  Everything fits.  Make it to the airport.  We look ridiculous with our 26 pieces of luggage, but all goes smoothly at ATL.  Say good-bye to Amelia.  Strangest sensation- overwhelmed with sadness and peace.  We are going to be friends forever.  Tears are for today only.  We will see each other soon.  I just know we will.  Flights, customs, and trip to hotel go smoothly- as only answered prayer could do.    Collapse into bed.

March 16- Denial didn't make it through customs.  This is really Panama.  And we really live here now.  Blissful times in the hotel.  Sickening times as we try to accomplish something.  Anything.

March 19- Move into our apartment.  I'm back to numb.

March 22- Tony takes Coralynn to the ER.  She has pneuomia.  Of course.

March 23- Chloe is near panic that Libby has forgotten her.  Despite my attempts to reassure her, she is falling fast.

March 24- Finally get internet again.  Emphasis on finally.  We also get a rental vehicle so I'm not stuck at home.  Amazing the things that give you hope.

TODAY-  Camilla finished a Mario Kart race in 9th place.   This is her first non-last-place finish.  Here's praying the the winds are changing for all of us!!

Where to start? At the beginning.

So, the goal was to have the background information all on the blog before we ever moved.  um.  That didn't happen so I'm going to share a brief version of the timeline just so everyone can basically be on the same page!!!

October 6- We return from a wonderful family vacation to Panama City Beach, Florida.  We loved the time together!!!

October 7- Tony calls me in the morning- early.  His boss has come in to let him know that he is being considered for a position overseas.  The person who is asking about him has heard that we have had another baby and wants to know if we are still interested in an ISE (CAT-speak for moving overseas).  I ask Tony where- assuming England.  He says, "Panama."  I say, "Like the canal Panama?  Isn't that where the people who screw up your paychecks work??"  His response is something like yes, but no.  Thanks, honey.  Helpful.

October 26- I receive the R U awake text.  Tony calls and tells me has officially been offered the position, and it is effective February 1st..  He is clearly thrilled.  I stop breathing.

That was a Tuesday.  We spend the rest of the week praying and talking with our counselors and bffs-the Estes.  Tony grows more and more excited.  I regain the ability to breathe, but the lack of oxygen puts me in a haze.

October 31- We tell the kids that we are moving.  Camilla thinks we mean Florida.  Carson, after the initial 40 seconds of displeasure, is thrilled.  Chloe, after the initial 5 seconds of enthusiasm, is furious.  Coralynn wants to nurse.  We then call the parents.  Overall, they are ok.  My dad is so thankful that I'm not pregnant or moving to China  :-) that he immediately starts making travel plans- for Mom.

November 1- Tony offically calls and accepts the job.  Much joy in Catland- at least among those allowed to know. 

November 2- I pick up Mom from the airport.  We head to Kohl's- never in too much of a haze for shopping!!  While I'm standing in the women's clothing clearance, my phone rings.  Tony calling.  Everything is on hold.  Paperwork is off.  He has stopped breathing.  I start spinning.

Rest of November- waiting.

All of December- waiting.

January 3- Tony gets the official official offer and accepts.  Move date- early March.