Friday, May 30, 2014

Prayer requests and update

I am asking again for prayer my children, but especially my Sidge. He is simply having a very difficult time right now. Obviously, we can't be sure it is all move-related, but from what I've been educated about regarding children and huge life changes, and what my friends have witnessed in their own children, we know this is probably a huge part of it. There are probably other things at play as well but this is probably a key component.

He doesn't mention moving but is so emotionally plagued with dark and bothersome thoughts. He is verbally sharing everything, which is good, but what he is saying is so hard for a mom to hear. It makes me cry frequently simply with a heart so heavy for my sweet little Sidge. He truly doesn't even resemble the child he was a month ago. Last night I just laid with him while he slept and laid my hands on him and prayed for him ... I know The Lord was listening.

Of course JB is very knowledgable about children and their health. He wants us to spend at least two to three solid weeks keeping his world very small, avoiding meeting or being with tons of new people and developing and continuing our family routine. After that, we'd consider reaching our for medical help. We need to get things consistent and routine and not ask him to do more than he is mentally able and see if keeping his world very small will help. He keeps asking how long we will be here, if this is his new house, etc. We are striving to make this as permanent as we can, knowing we may only be here a year while we look for land.

If you could commit our little Sidge to your prayers, we would so covet those prayers. He is hurting so much and subsequently, so are the people who love him.

His awesome grandparents are planning to return to South Florida next week to tie up loose ends in South Florida. We aren't sure how long they will be gone, but we know this will be another change
for the kids.

JB doesn't start his new job for a month. He is on terminal leave which means he is still being paid by the Air Force for thirty more days. We are so glad he has this as we feel it will give us great time to adequately create a new life here for us and help the kids adjust to everything spiraling around them.

I don't mean to make things sound dramatic. I really simply feel this is our reality. I have always been big on being honest and real and asking for what we need.

In other news, our small shipment was supposed to arrive today and was delayed until Monday. This was great disappointing. However, we got word this morning that our storage items .... things we had the military store while we were in Turkey and the Azores ... was on its way. This was mostly random old books, china, and jJB's hunting stuff. But also included was our washer and dryer. Oh to do a load in am American washer!

However, the king-sized mattress we had been counting on totally disappeared from storage! We have to file a claim which doesn't do much good when all we wanted was a bed. Guess it is air mattresses for awhile longer!

We have been reached out to by a local pastor who is friends with the Stebbins family. They are coming by tonight with a folding table, chairs, a meal, and extra air mattresses!! In addition, my cousins Josh and Sarah are here to help us with things and another teacher from our high school has loaned us an air mattress.

Praising the Lord for his hands and feet on this Earth!

Friday Funnies (on the road)

Sidge: Sidge has been very obssessed with what types of things can put him in jail. He was walking and picking at his fingernail. "Can I throw this on the ground?" he asked.
Me: "Of course. Nails are not littering."
Sidge: "Well the Bible said that whatever you take into the wilderness you should take out of the wilderness."


Abigail: "Are we in Tennessee?"
John: "No, we are in a van on the way to Tennessee."
Abigail: "Well," she said, looking at the bus next to us at the stoplight. "Are we going to go on that bus?"


Sidge: "Can you pray for me not to have the cough that hurts? But I still want to have a little cough because I want to be sick and watch a lot of TV."


Isaac: "Tennessee is shaped like a gun without a handle."


Sidge: "Armpits. Is that the same as legpits?"


John was walking with Isaac on his shoulders from the restaurant we ate at back to our hotel. John told him that he could only hold him for a fer minutes because he was getting tired.
Isaac: "Well, then could you walk a little faster so that we can make it back to the hotel before you have to put me down?"


Sidge: "Daddy what if there was a doctor for penises?"
JB: "There are. They are called urologists."
Sidge: "Is that like eye doctors?"
JB: "Yes, but eye doctors are called opthamologists."
Sidge: "I went to the opthamologist. You put your chin on this little thing and look through a  mask. Do you think you have to put your penis on one of those things at the penis doctor?"


Our kids have been practicing map reading. This is why Abigail thinks Tennessee is orange. Apparently, Sidge paid attention to the color of the Azores because he asked, as we entered Tenneessee, "What color is this island?" JB explained that we were no longer on an island and that the whole state would not be one color.


Sidge: "I was picking my nose. I got two boogers. I turned them into one."

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Almost home

So wonderfully strange to be back on American soil and not planning on the visit ending. I wish I could put my emotions into words but all you would get would be a mish mash of verbs that would leave you no closer to understanding the myriad of emotions this particular move has stirred in JB and me.

Are we excited? Yes.
Sad? A bit.
Overwhelmed? You betcha.
Relieved? A ton.
Giddy? Oh yeah.
Exhausted? Beyond words.

We had an absolutely amazing time with The Stebbins family. I have a few pictures I want to share on the Blog but I can't load pictures using my iPad .... So they will have to wait until I can use a real computer. I will write more about this visit when I have a real keyboard but for now let me say that William was my boys first real buddy and having them back together was amazing. In addition, Stebbs has always just been good for my soul. She is real with me and we laugh and joke and just .... BE .... And that feels so great. We get each other and  the overseas life. Sometimes I think she knows me better than I know myself!

We spent Monday at Mt. Vernon. On Tuesday, JB and his dad drove to Norfolk to pick up our van from the port. (We still don't understand why the van couldn't come into the Baltimore port!) While they were gone, Stebbs and I had the opportunity to take the three boys to a couple of museums. Then, on Wednesday morning, we loaded up our rental and real van and began the drive to Tennessee.

If think of it, please pray for our kiddos, especially Sidge who has had some real stress during this move. Isaac seems to be doing pretty well but is hard to know because he is not nearly as forthcoming with emotions as Sidge is. We often wonder if he is feeling the same things, just not sharing them as continually as Sidge does. And Abigail just keeps saying, "Daddy, you just kidding," when we tell her this land on the highway is Tennessee. I think she was expecting something much more dramatic! A real place if you will. You can tell her little mind cannot comprehend that Tennessee is a new world .... Not one building." 

We as military families are very prepared for the stress military moves, especially big ones, can cause in kids, but it is still hard to witness. Little things keep happening that make us aware of how different this new life will be. 

One example was at Mt. Vernon. Sidge grew concerned with how we would find him if he got lost in the crowds ... Which were minimal that morning. We had to explain safety measures that have previously not been an issue at our two isolated assignments.

Another example is the water fountains the boys are seeing at rest stops. Overseas, water is not free so they have loved getting drinks out of these whenever they see them on our trip. Just something new that may be routine for kids growing up in America.

And they keep making whispering comments about people they are seeing. People are dressed very differently now. Men in Portugal and Turkey and in the military community did not have ponytails or piercings. Wh do all these men have them? Is that okay? It is funny that even when your kids are culturally aware, that experience is limited to the places they are experiencing culture.

Much, much more to come as today, we move into our rental home! We met our landlord last night to get the keys! Today we hope to turn on the water and spend hours taking in the soft carpets and thermostat on the wall!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Could you pray?

Would you all please say a prayer for my kids, specifically Sidge? We aren't sure if it is just the move or a combination of other factors, but the kids are all having some adjustment issues. Sidge, specifically, is plagued by intense concern and worries about being arrested, death, lying, etc. My heart aches for him and I am also exhausted trying to help him. We are hopeful that once things settle, his little heart and mind will return to normal.

Thanks all! And thanks to all of you (Jenny!) for encouraging us with stories of your own child's military adjustments!

Hita and Hannah

Here is a video my father-in-law took of our final moments with our beloved Hita. She is having an argument with hew mom over a picture on the wall. Her mom is insisting it is Hita as a young woman but Hita is sure it is another one of her sisters. Hita's mom had six children. She had two sets of twin girls, one boy, and another baby who died very young. Her house is very small but very full of love. I am so glad dad got this video to remember this special woman in my life.

Monday, May 26, 2014

We are home

Sunday was a very long day.

But at the end of day, we were back in America!

Eight people.
Sixteen bags.
Eight carry-ons.
Four car seats.
One pack-n-play.
One huge dog kennel.
One dog.
One five and a half hour flight.

And we were in Baltimore!

We are staying with our awesome friends from Turkey: Sarah and Ryan Stebbins and their boys. William was Isaac and Elijah's best bud in turkey. And they've picked up right where they left off. And new baby Graham is just a few weeks older than Hannah.

We have to hang out for a few days until we can get our van out of the port in Norfolk.

Let the adventure continue!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Reverse Culture Shock

Great article: Can you Survive Reverse Culture Shock with great tips! Included in this list are the following facts:

  • Nobody cares about your travels
  • Normality will hit hard
  • People just won't understand you
  • Some people will be jealous
  • You might feel stuck

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Final Farewells

We've been spending a lot of time with our friends -- saying final good byes. Last week we had dinner at our friend Mianna's house. Thursday night we had a going away with our Bible Study. On Friday we had dinner at Claire's house.

We will see all of our American friends at the airport when we leave. It's a Lajes tradition to "see people off" and so the military airport is always packed with good-byers. They call it "Lajes Goodness." 

But we still had a lot of good byes to say -- to the island and to our Portuguese friends that we needed to do on our own.

So today we decided to go on a little tour of our very favorite Portuguese people and places. 

First (and hardest) stop: Hita's house. I honestly can't even write much about this right now. It's too fresh. Leaving Hatice in Turkey was hard because little Abigail was a baby who thought of her as a Grama. Leaving Hita was hard because little Hannah is a baby who thinks of her as a Grama. When Hannah sees Hita, she kicks her legs and goes to her without hesitation. 

I cried hard leaving this lady. Leaving my American friends is hard, but I know I will most likely see them again. But I just don't know if I'll see Hita again. 

Hita (holding Hannah) having an argument with her mom about which child is in the photo on the wall.

This cracked me up. Hita's Mom kept saying that it was Hita, and Hita was insistent that it was another one of her brothers or sisters. 

The argument goes on.  Hita's mom had six children -- two sets of twins, a son, and another baby who died very young.

Hannah and her Portuguese Grama.

Love this lady so much!

Next up, we stopped at Carlos and Julie's house to say good bye. Julie is Hita's cousin and they are a great family. Carlos does our yard and Julie has babysat and just helped us with translation issues as she speaks fantastic English! Whenever Hita and I reach a language impass, she always says, "You wait. I call Julie!" Then she calls Julie on the phone and Julie translates.

After that, we drove to our beloved Porto Martins. We parked our van and went for a walk on the "Island of Sodor" -- a favorite section of rocks right by our house. Dad and Mom took these photos for us.

After our time on the rocks, we decided to walk back to our house in Porto Martins to say good bye. Here we are heading down the street:

The walk

Abigail stopping to feed her current addiction: flower picking.

Almost home

We made a stop at Al & Fernanda's house across the street to say good bye. She took us on a tour inside their beautiful home and told us how nice it was to see kids playing outside -- it reminded her of her own children. 

Taking a final look at his garden.

Garden beauty

After that we took a walk from our house to Buzius -- where we wanted to have our last lunch. Our friends Tania and Luis met us outside Buzius for some quick hugs.

Walking on the wall outside Buzius

Playing by the water

Hannah with our two favorite Terceira Island waitresses. This is Marta. (Katya was off for the day.)

One last plate of Spaghetti!

One of our favorite spots.

Eating Spaghetti. We absolutely LOVED Buzius. Not only could we walk to it, but Hannah got held while we were eating a lot of the time which let us eat in peace! :)

After that, it was time for a stop at the Red Cafe for ice cream!

Saying good bye to a few of our Red Cafe regulars. One of them told JB, "See, this is why I don't make friends with Americans. They always leave."

Ice cream time


Last stop was Josh & Rebekah's house. This house is incredibly special to us as it was occupied by the Seeliger family and then the Storey family. A great place for us to play for two straight years!

Our pirate ship -- relocated to the Storey treehouse. 

Chatting with Josh.

What an amazingly fantastic day. I will truly never forget these last moments in our life on this island.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sorry for Friday Funny Absence

I make a point to record Friday Funnies as they emerge.

But this week was so busy I didn't do that. And so, while funny things happened, I was either too stressed to laugh about it, or too busy to record it.

One memory I specifically remember was JB calling Abigail "Tinkerbell" and Abigail saying, "Daddy, don't call me names."

The other sort of funny things that has been happening is that Sidge has turned into a walking confessional. The kid has decided that he must tell us anything he even thinks that is wrong.

An example. He came up to me the other day and said, "I called Isaac a phoey -- in my head. I didn't say it out loud. Is that still wrong?"

And then today he said, "I smelled Abigail."

(I actually have no idea what that even means.)

He'll say, "I touched that shoe. I looked at that window. I told Isaac to leave me alone." And the list goes on and on. Sometimes he'll go more explanatory. He'll say, "I think I did this wrong. But I'm not sure. Maybe I did and maybe I did not."

We had talked once about how when you grow up, if you steal, you can go to jail. Sidge got very concerned about a piece of candy he had taken from me once. "Is there food in jail?" he asked. When JB confirmed that they do feed inmates, he went on to ask, "What kind of food is it?"

(That kid LOVES food!)

I have finally told him not to confess to me anymore. Just ask the person for forgiveness. Ask Jesus for forgiveness. I will often see him with his head down talking to Jesus, asking him for forgiveness for some minor infraction that he committed.

Minor infraction like smelling someone.

In other news ...

Nearly everything is done.

It's been two weeks of lists a mile long, but I am happy to say that nearly everything has been crossed off.

And it's time to say good bye to this tiny island.

No formal Friday Funnies. But rest assured that as life begins to return to some form of normality, my blog will too.

If you remember us in our prayers this week, you could specifically pray for:

  • Our transition to the fast-paced American life. That we can continue to treasure and hold onto the slow paced life we have come to so enjoy.
  • For Isaac and his stuttering.
  • For Sidge and his emotions.
  • For Abigail and her comfort with changes (like beds and rooms). 
  • For me to not get so easily frustrated and agitated. 
  • For JB to successfully transition to his new job in Emergency Medicine which will include some night shifts. 
Almost there ...

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Because of Isaac has a new couple. Check out Joel & Criss' profile!

Please consider making a donation to this awesome couple today. We are so excited where the Lord is taking BOI!

JB's last day in uniform

Here it is. JB in his uniform for the very last time. We love you Major Kitsteiner. So proud of your service to our country but glad to have you all to ourselves now! We have LOVED our seven years in the military and four years overseas. We would do it all again in a heartbeat. But we are also very excited to settle down and raise some trees!

And here is a photo of JB and Dr. Coker at his going away ceremony yesterday. They gave him an awesome Azorean ceramic tile with a photo of Porto Martins, our house, and our family. (They also gave him a plaque with a fake 1,000,000 dollar bill because apparently, every time Dr. Coker asked JB if he could get him anything, JB replied, "Yes. A million dollars.")

Sixth Birthday Party

This post is a little late. But better late than never. Two Saturdays ago, we had Isaac's Superhero Birthday party at the local movie theatre. $50 to rent the theatre with free drinks and popcorn! You really can't beat that. We showed the Lego Batman movie, ordered pizzas, and the lovely Sarah Dye made cupcakes! (Normally I try to make my own pathetic-looking-ones but because we had packed out, I opted to simplify and beautify!)

We brought our camera but forgot the camera card so the equally lovely Rebekah Storey took some photos for us. Check 'em out!

I love that I can keep the candle for just 8 months -- when Sidge will turn 6!

Look at that talent! And, believe it or not, deliciously egg free!

In her 2T Supergirl costume. You can't see it but I was wearing a "Wonderwoman" shirt. And JB had on "Superman." This was Grama's idea!

Man, six year olds smother you during gift opening.

Abigail finding a safe spot to chow down.

She had batgirl on in the morning but shortly before the party, she opted to forgo a costume.

I absolutely love this smile. Dave & Angel Pitts gave him a card with a cat that meowed "Happy Birthday". He loved it!

Another shot of the cat card.

Abigail moved onto my lap for a better view. 

Hannah (with a little cold!)

Love this little chick!

The lovely Sarah (the red head!) has been at most of our birthday parties. Honestly, people should hire her! She serves as your right-hand girl organizing presents, writing down who gave what, holding babies! She is simply AWESOME!

Lighting the candle!