Monday, February 18, 2013

Baby We're Back!

It's been an unbelievable month and a half. We've been around the world and back again.

School started today for the kids. Semester 2 AFTER summer break. It's weird. The kids were not thrilled with going back, but eager to wrap up their final semester here in Chile and get back to the states where "school is easy".

I will have to post much more about our travels another day, but as an overview:

We left Santiago on January 9th, flew to Atlanta, then Detroit, then Paris, then Rome. It was a round about way to get to Rome, but when you are flying on frequent flyer points, and in first class, you're just grateful to get where you're going for free.

We arrived in Rome the night before our cruise left. We met our friends from Chile, the Caudles, at Trevi Fountain that evening. It was spectacular at night and so much fun to be with our friends :)

We boarded the ship the next day and had two, well-needed, days at sea. The travel and previous 6 months had taken it's toll on all of us and we needed a few days just to recuperate.

We landed at the following ports of call:
Alyana, Turkey
2 unbelievable days in Israel
back to Rome

Every single day was beautiful. The only cold spots - Naples and Rome. Italy was definitely in winter. The rest of the time we were comfortable in light jackets. The kids even SWAM in the dead sea - well, floated.

After ending the cruise, we spent 2 days in Rome (including my oldest son, Andrew's 17th birthday) seeing the sights.

It was an amazing adventure!

On day 1 of Israel, (my birthday), we got a call from my mom in the US to our room. It went something like this;
"Greg, This is your mom-in-law. This call is $8 a minute. Your house in Arizona has flooded. You need to call Mitch. Is there anything I can do for you from here? OK. Sorry to ruin your vacation."

Needless to say, that was NOT the call we were expecting to wake up to. But we called Mitch -our amazing friend in Arizona - and he'd already had the clean up crew underway. It was under control. We called the insurance and things were rolling. So we disembarked and headed to Israel. Surprisingly, we didn't think about the mess much. Really, what could we do?

We enjoyed our amazing vacation and returned to Arizona as scheduled and frantically met with contractors, decided on new carpet, paint, etc. etc. That has been a little chaotic. We're still deciding on tile. Not such an easy task from a distance.

It was truly a blessing that it happened when it did and that we have such amazing friends and neighbors who were looking out for us. We are so grateful for all of them.

We stayed in a hotel in Phoenix for the scheduled 5 days and headed to Salt Lake City to visit family there over the weekend. It was so good to see everyone! I love my extended, married-in family! Girls aren't always so lucky!

The kids and I then headed to Missouri to visit family and Greg to Minneapolis for meetings. I got to hold my newest little nephew for the first time and loved catching up with the family. Greg returned to Phoenix for 3 days before we met up in Atlanta for our journey back to Santiago.

We arrived in Santiago to beautiful 80 degree weather. We missed the big earthquake, 3-day water shut-off, and sweltering heat. We couldn't have timed this trip more perfectly!

I can't wait to share photos and stories about our adventures this summer. One day at a time. Today, Greg is working from home and he and I have a hot lunch date! So photos and stories will have to wait.

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