Friday, August 30, 2013

Welcoming a Precious 14yo Into Our Family

With joy we welcomed a precious 14yo into our family on August 29.

Alayna quickly discovered the beautiful earrings her sisters had given her.  But our gift to her was another story.  Those were hidden inside 14 balloons.

Besides an animated opening of gifts from us and her sisters, her birthday included Belgian waffles with whipped cream for breakfast, sushi for lunch, relaxing with her dad in the hammock, sisters making cookies together, then painting their nails, homemade personal pizzas, ice cream, and cookies before getting settled into sleeping bags for a fun sister slumber party.

 Happy 14th Birthday, Alayna Marie!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Adriana's New Adventure

The past several months have all been leading up to a major transition for our family: Adriana leaving for college. There have been many forms filled out, still more emails sent and responded to, appointments scheduled, and even a couple of flights between the US and the Philippines.

Saturday morning a new journey began. Adriana said "See you later" to her sisters and grandparents.
One last shot
Then we were off to Grace College.

The Welcome Weekend was a busy time for all of the incoming freshmen. There were activities for students with their parents, students only, and parents only.

Of course, getting settled into the dorm room is very important also.  Adriana will be staying at one of the most beautiful buildings on campus.

But a dorm room is still a dorm room. With a few modifications, the beds were lofted and there was a lot of space available. Adriana had just fallen asleep when her room mate arrived at midnight on Saturday. (She and a few other students had just arrived from South Korea.)
"Home" in "Westy"
Lisa and I did not get to meet Adriana's room mate, Yelee, until Sunday afternoon during a last minute Walmart trip.
Yelee and Adriana
During Chapel service Sunday morning the three of us did have a time of tears as we held each other and prayed remembering God's faithfulness, reflecting on His promises, and looking forward to what was ahead of us. 

Sunday afternoon we were doing some final touches on her dorm when her floor mates came and pulled her away so they could all have dinner together. So our "See you later" was without tears - no prolonged goodbyes, just one more hug and a quick prayer of blessing and she was out the door.  But as Lisa and I were driving home, we were comforted by the many assurances God gave us that Adriana is where she is supposed to be.  We look forward to what God will do in her life in this new adventure of college.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Celebrating Adriana's High School Graduation

Just days after our arrival in the United States, we gathered with family and friends to honor the high school graduation of our oldest daughter, Adriana.  Through the efforts of many loved ones, we were treated to a wonderful time of celebration with plenty of food, conversation, and hugs.  This opportunity to gather together was such an encouragement to Adriana.
The coconut, raspberry, and lemon flavored cakes tasted as good as they looked.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Introducing Our Favorite 11 year old

The clouds prevented us from stargazing but it was such a joy to celebrate Annalise's birthday with family.

Happy Birthday, Annalise!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

By Boat or Plane?

Before we left the Philippines, we were blessed to share some time together with friends.
Dinner with Patrick and Rufina's family
Our journey began with a long drive to Manila. We stayed at the UCCP Shalom Center like we usually do when traveling to the US. They only have a few rooms in which we can all fit. This was our first time in this particular room though. When we noticed the painting on the wall, we began to wonder whether we would still be flying or whether our voyage might be on the Dawn Treader.  (If that sentence made no sense to you, may we recommend The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis or the recent movie of the same title.)
Dawn Treader?
Well, the room did not flood, but the alarm went off at 1:45 am so we could all get a shower before heading to the airport for our journey across the Pacific and North America.
Did you ever notice that people look happy at the beginning of  a flight?
Actually, all of our travel went very well; everything departed and arrived on-time. Although we would have welcomed a voyage on the Dawn Treader we were thankful for the much quicker travel available on modern jetliners.  We also appreciated the individual touch screen entertainment monitors installed in each seat back.  They helped to distract us during the long flights.
Friendly faces at the airport-the best part of our trip!