Family Photos

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we attempted to have some photos taken by a friend on the beach, but Sam dove immediately into the water. Well, we got a few pictures back today that turned out! We haven’t had a family picture taken since my sister’s wedding three years ago, and we’ve used it on all of our mission materials. (It’s there in the sidebar of the blog, too.) The kids have grown a lot since that was taken!




Soaking in the Sunshine

After taking a week to wind down from all the working, packing, and traveling, we spent the past week fully enjoying the sunshine!

Ella and Pete have had a few opportunities to snorkel since we got here. Ella’s in love! We might need to get this girl certified some day so she can dive with us.

This guy can’t resist a mirror.

So much water time.

We tried to take a few family pictures on the beach, but Sam wanted nothing more than to be in the water.

Vacation also means lots of date time for Ella and Daddy. She couldn’t be happier.

Life was a little hectic on Mother’s Day this year, so we postponed for a bit. This past week we picked a day and Pete and the kids made it so special for me! It started with coffee in bed and this card made by my loves.

Then they treated me to a morning at the spa with a massage, mani, and pedi. I love when my nails match my ring.

With my book in the shade and this view, I felt very celebrated. It was an amazing Mother’s Day!

Two days ago we took Sam on a glass bottom boat. He yelled each time we saw a fish swim under the boat. I would have been happy only watching him on that trip. He was so happy.

Sam actually liked watching the boat hit the waves more than seeing the fish. I knew he would. He adores the water.

Life is pretty good with this one.

My cozy boys, watching TV with Grover and Abby Cadabby.

We’ve got more family days ahead as we wait for Pete’s Kenyan work permit to be approved. We’ve been told it will be soon, but we won’t know exactly when until word is sent to our team at Tenwek Hospital. We keep praying and trusting it will come through in God’s perfect timing!



Made it to the Beach

We made it to the beach! What a journey it was the last few weeks to get to this point!

Pete finished work the morning of May 15. Two Harbors was such a good fit for us as a family. He worked there for the last year. We were able to spend lots of time with him there, especially after we started homeschooling in February. Not having to be back to Duluth super early each morning meant we could go up in time for dinner, get the kids tucked in in their own room across the hall from us, and then Pete and I could stay up watching TV and talking between patients and then sleep a bit in the morning. It made such a difference for us since then we didn’t have to wait all week to see him when he briefly came home. We’re so thankful to the staff and leadership at Lake View Hospital for allowing us to stay with Pete!

Once Pete completed his last shift, we set to work finishing projects and packing. I had already done a bulk of the packing and cleaning, but there are always lots of little things to finish with any move. This was particularly true since we’re moving to the other side of the globe! Managing mail, collecting keys, making trips to the storage unit and donation sites, paying all hospital bills, selling the Jeep, etc. I really hope we thought of everything.

The morning of May 18, Luke & Hannah came by to help us load up our luggage and get it to the airport. We had decided a few months prior that we wouldn’t have family take us that morning. There are just so many emotions tied up in saying goodbye and trying to get all the bags checked and through security. It wouldn’t have made for a very good goodbye.

Luke & Hannah have done so much life with us, so we were so thankful to have their help that last morning. We arranged the bags and then had a nice, long breakfast of donuts and chai with them before heading to our gate. Honestly, Luke & Hannah are like family, so there were definitely tears shed in that goodbye, but it was exactly how we hoped to leave for our first term abroad.

We waved goodbye to Duluth as we flew up over Lake Superior. It was a little hard to know what to feel as we left the city we so dearly love.

This girl loves to fly.

On the first flight she colored pictures for the pilots. When she gave them to the flight attendant as we left the plane, the kids were invited to sit up front for a few minutes. Obviously, they were thrilled. So was I!

Ella colored pictures again on our second flight and then joined the pilot for his lunch up front after everyone deboarded. I have a feeling she may be trying this on every flight in the future.

We’ve now been at the beach for one week. Pete and I agreed last night at dinner that we’re finally feeling like we’re able to rest. Neither of us slept well the first week, as we started our transition. I am so thankful to our coaches who told us in January we needed to take at least two weeks to rest.

Ready to conquer the beeeeeeach!

We’re still waiting for Pete’s work permit to go through in Kenya. Please keep praying it happens soon! We’ll keep you posted. And now that we’re resting, I have more time to write, so be sure to check back for more posts very soon!



Seven Days!

It’s true! One week until we leave Duluth! I know this may be a surprise to some of you since we haven’t written about it here on the blog yet. We’ve just been so busy packing! We’re working on a newsletter update, too, but here’s the plan for the upcoming weeks.

One week from today – May 18 – we will board a plane in Duluth and head to Florida. Yes, Florida and not Kenya. Back in January when we were at training, it was recommended to us by our coach that we take a little time together as a family between Duluth and Kenya. The term we were given for this time is a boat. It comes from the idea that missionaries used to have to take a boat from the US to wherever they would be serving. It often took a couple weeks to make the trip, allowing the family to transition from one home to the next. Now we jump on a plane and arrive in our new home country the very next day! With Pete’s intense work schedule continuing right up until next Monday morning, we’re thankful to be heading out for our own ‘boat’ near friends in Florida.

Ella gave us her approval while we spoke at Riverview Church in Pine River last week.

We chose Florida for a variety of reasons. One is that we know multiple people there, including our friends the Smiths who will be graciously hosting us for part of our boat. Another is that it’s warm, which we still haven’t quite experienced this spring in Duluth. Also, there are beaches! We love the beach and are so looking forward to letting the kids play and play and play.

We received a beautiful send-off at Duluth Vineyard, our home church, two weeks ago.

We currently have tickets to fly out of Tampa for Kenya on June 9, though that may change. We are still waiting for Pete’s Kenyan work permit. We applied for it months ago and are trusting that it will arrive soon. Will you please pray with us that it does? It’s the one final detail we need before we make our way to Africa. In the chance it doesn’t arrive, we have flexible tickets and will adjust our leave date accordingly.

This week I said goodbye to these incredible mamas in the small group I started two years ago.

So for now, we’re wrapping up our packing! I started in February, so it’s not too crazy right now, which is exactly what I wanted. The house is empty and the suitcases are nearly ready!

Seven days to wrap up our goodbyes and head south.

Twenty-nine days to Kenya!!


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