Tuesday, July 26, 2016

And just like that, they are home

Tonight, Courtney, Paul, Tizita, and Soliana are safely back in their home in Oshkosh.
It was a l o n g day of travel for them today.
32 hours, but they made it home safely.
Thanks be to God.
I am going onThursday to see them and hear all about the trip.
I had been in Oshkosh for the last four days, organizing, cleaning, and putting little surprises in the girls' rooms.
It was fun.
I hope they like it.
Tomorrow I need to spend the day at school getting things ready for the new school year which will be upon us sooner than we know it.
For tonight, I am just going to be happy that they are home.
That is all.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Photo That Gives Me Goosbumps

Courtney posted this photo on facebook yesterday.
I cannot say how much I LOVE this photo.
It just speaks volumes to me.
A beautiful girl in her beautiful homeland.
I cannot wait to hear all about this vacation from Tizita.
Okay, I now realize that you could never feel all of this by using Google.

On another note, I had a Lularoe online party last night.
I earned four pieces of clothing due to my sales.
I loved it, so many people came over and purchased things.
I can't wait to do it again.

Only five more days and the world travelers return.
I cannot wait.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The World Travelers are having lots of fun and Making Memories

I am very proud of Courtney.
She is keeping me updated with regular texts and messages.
I am so thankful for that.
After spending a few days at a guest house in the capitol city, they left with their driver and an interpreter for two nights in Hosana where they would meet up with Tizita's biological dad, grandpa and brother.
The meeting went well.
Courtney said that Tiz was quiet but happy.
Complicated business for a little girl, but with everyone's help she will be fine.
After those two nights at a motel there, they left for Paradise Lodge which sounds like a beautiful place to vacation.
Here are a few photos that Courtney sent:

It all looks very beautiful and peaceful
Today Courtney said they were poolside
They also enjoyed a boat ride on the big lake at the lodge where they saw hippos, zebras, crocodiles, and birds.
I cannot wait until they get home and I can hear all about these adventures.
So far, so good.


And They Have Arrived Safely in Ethiopia

I tracked their flight until I saw that it had landed safely in Ethiopia at 11:00 P.M.
I get not comfort from watching that blip of a plane because I always fear that blip will suddenly disappear, but I did breathe a sigh of relief when I saw it safely on the ground.
Courtney was able to text me as they landed so that was nice, too.
She said the girls did great on the long flight.

Courtney has been able to text and even post a few photos to FB these past two days.
It helps so much to know that she is doing that.  Once I see their smiling faces, I know they are okay.

Here are the three photos she posted today:
 This is at a coffee shop.
Tiz is enjoying some hot chocolate.
 Here they are at Natnael's grave.
Courtney said it was a pretty long walk to get there, but they found it.
Their friends who run a day care center in Ethiopia walked out there with them.
What a special family photo!
I am sure Natnael is smiling down at them as they pose at his grave.
And these are children of the family that runs the center.
I smile because for once, the girls are in the majority!
But, I am guessing, no one sees skin color in this group.

I feel better now.
Admittedly, the hardest part for me is the plane trip.

Tomorrow John and I are heading up to Oshkosh to check out the house, play with the cat, and just generally feel close to them.

Till next time.

Monday, July 11, 2016

And Here Starts the Longest Two Weeks of My Life

Courtney, Paul, and the girls left for Ethiopia today.
They have made it to Chicago, one leg down with millions to go.
Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning they fly to D.C. and then on to Ethiopia.
Some 20 hours later, they will arrive there.
This is so wrong to me on so many levels.
First of all, who needs to go to Ethiopia, especially with a five and nine year old in tow.
I get that they want to show the girls their culture, but one can do that with google.
Secondly, our world is in great unrest.  There are black vs. white tensions all over our country.
Things are not pretty right now.
Terrorists are all over, bombing.
They like to target airports, big airports like Chicago and D.C.
In my humble opinion this is no time to be leaving our country.
The closer to home, the better.

While in Ethiopia, they will be touring the countryside with a tour guide/van driver and an interpreter.
All alone in a van with two people they don't know, yeah, that sounds safe enough, right?
I am sure Ethiopians view all Americans as rich and why wouldn't they take an opportunity to rob them, take the girls, and leave the rest for dead.
Okay, I admit that I let my imagination get the best of me. It's a curse more than a blessing.
My motto has always been, "Hope for the best, expect the worst, and roll with the punches."  So in light of that philosophy, I need to expect the worst so I don't get blindsided by some tragedy.

Oh, and dare I forget that long airplane ride.
The things that could go wrong on a flight that long are endless.
Just the boredom alone could kill one.
It seems to me it is child abuse to make a kid be on a plane that long, Ugh!
So, as I enter the longest two weeks of my life, please think of me, say a prayer for my sanity, and send positive vibes my way.
I will need all the help I can get.

And, did I mention that Courtney is terrible at texting, messaging or FBing.
She will blame it on the poor wi fi connections, but I know one can make contact from Ethiopia.
The real reason is that she is bad at contacting people, well, maybe mostly her mother, and when you add that to my already horrid scenarios, it makes for a long, stressful two weeks.

So, come back and check on me in two weeks, sooner if you want and you can find out how this whole story ends.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Weekend with Tizita and celebrating Soliana's 5th Birthday

Tizita came home with John on Friday.
Funny story here, Courtney called as they were enroute to John in Fond du Lac and told me they had forgotten Tizita's overnight bag.
No fear, I headed over to St. Vinney's and picked up a few items to get her through the weekend.
They arrived, she loved all my selections and we all had her choice of subs for dinner.
John, she and I starred a big game of monopoly.
We paused the game and watched two movies until midnight.
We watched Mom Trade and Dennis the Menace.
They were both such funny movies.
On Saturday, we took a nice long bike ride.  Tiz wanted to ride to the fro yo place so that is what we did.
Along the way we stopped at Douglas School park and we fed the ducks.
It was a great bike ride, she is a great little rider.

After our bike ride, Tiz decided to bake one of her creations.
She never uses a recipe, just likes to throw things together.
This time she made some cupcakes and frosted them.
They were actually very tasty.
She also made funnel cakes which were very yummy.
She helped Gigi with the dishes mostly because she was curious about the new swedish dish cloth we brought her from  Door County.
After the baking, John, Tiz and I went to the see the movie, "The Secret Life of Pets."
It was a very funny movie, we all enjoyed it very much.
Came home and finished our Monopoly game before watching some TV

Today after church we took Tiz home.  My mom came along and we celebrated Soliana's fifth birthday.
We ate together at Red Robin and then opened gifts.  She loved them all.
It was a great birthday.

 Another great weekend of memory making!

The next two weeks are going to be very, very hard for me.
Courtney, Paul and the girls are taking a trip to Ethiopia.
I already have every possible scenario in my head of all the things that might go wrong.
I need to keep my mind very busy and pray hard for their safety.
I just want these two weeks to go very quickly, can't wait to see them when they return.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Celebrating a Soliversary in Door County

We had a fantastic long weekend in Door County with Courtney, Paul, and the girls.
I used to say, "how could anyone spend a whole week in Door County?" well, I no longer say that, I think I could easily spend a lifetime up here and not run out of things to do.
Our weekend started on Thursday when John brought Soli home for sleepover.
On Friday (John took off) the three of us took a bike ride to Douglas School playground.
This is no small feet for a four year old who rides a small bike with training wheels, but she did it, even the big hill!
We ended up at Riverside Park where we fed the ducks.
Soli ended her day by washing her Escalade.
Here are a few photos from our fun day:

On Friday night John and I took Soliana back to Oshkosh.
The girls wanted to head over to Sawdust days, so John and I took them over there.  Wisely, Courtney and Paul stay away.
It was not my favorite Grandparent thing to do by any means.  It was a crowded midway, hard to find tickets and the rides that the girls wanted.  Things were extremely expensive and of course, the girls wanted to do and try games as well as ride the rides.
We were going to eat there, but thought better of that idea.
We enjoyed a delicious pizza at a very peaceful Cranky Pat's.  Courtney and Paul joined us, too.
In this photo, Tiz is trying desperately to win a goldfish, she spent $6.00 and threw thirty balls but none of them landed in a fishbowl much to her dismay.

Soli did enjoy the rides and her smile was almost worth the price of this ride!

On Saturday, the girls rode with us as we headed to Door County.
I was nervous about it being the 4th of July weekend since I figured that Door County would be very busy which is it was but the crowds didn't really bother us since we were off the beaten path.
We started our vacation at PC Junction.
We only discovered this great place a few years ago and we love it for the girls.
John, the girls and I sat at the train bar.  Courtney and Paul preferred the outside seating by the bar.
We sat in the Ephaim spot and they celebrated Soli's fifth birthday by sending her an ice cream sundae on the train.
She said it was embarrassing!

After lunch we spent at least an hour riding around on the fun pedal cars they have there.

From there is was off to Cave Point County Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park.
Both of those places were busier than usual due to the holiday weekend, but still as beautiful as ever except that the beach at Whitefish Dunes was almost gone.
We had to walk on a very narrow sand path to get to a spot on the beach.  Spots were few and are between as there were people on top of people on this narrow beach.
The girls did enjoy swimming in Lake Michigan and we had a very nice family of five small kids next to us.
After the beach, we enjoyed ice cream in Bailey's Harbor before checking into our quaint motel.

John and I had stayed at his particular motel a few times.
It was nice enough, clean, but certainly nothing to write home about, but because it was a holiday weekend, it was difficult to find anywhere to stay that was reasonable.
I warned Courtney that we may not like the place too much and probably would not like the pool which I recalled being rather old and overgrown, but we were so pleasantly surprised.
That motel, the Sister Bay Inn, turned out to be the best!
It is under new management and the rooms are newly decorated in bright white, the pool is brand new and the owners are so friendly.  They went out of their way to make us feel welcome.
We never felt the hustle and bustle of July 4 at this quiet place.
The girls loved the pool.
We all loved the quiet.

Our beloved JJ's Mexican restaurant in Jacksonport is now some other restaurant so we went to the JJ's in Sister Bay which was very good, too.

On Sunday morning, the girls swam again after enjoying a delicious continental breakfast compliments of the motel.
We celebrated Soliana's fourth Soliversary after swimming.
It was a super hero party.
She had a great time and we all enjoyed celebrating such a sweet little girl.

We picked up some snacks and headed to Fish Creek to take our boat tour.
We had a great tour guide, Jessie and we all enjoyed our time on the boat.
Soli was chosen to drive the boat and she did a fine job!

After a bit of shopping we went to a fish boil at Pellitier's in Fish Creek.
Tiz captured these great photos.
We loved the food.
It was a fun night.

We ended our night with a drive through Peninsula State Park where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

Paul had to leave early on the fourth of July to march in a parade, so the rest of us found some more fun things including a few beaches.
It was a great day.

Returned to Oshkosh in time for fireworks.
Happy Fourth and Happy Soliversary everyone.

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