Moving: Extreme Edition

Well, we made it to Nabire (AKA the other side of the world)! We are so excited to be here! Our team greeted us with a welcome banner and hugs. They provided meals for us for several days so that we could get our kitchen in order. Before we arrived, they moved all of our stuff from where it was being store into our house. Basically, they rock.

We’re spending this week moving into our house again. It’s a lot of work. Like, a whole lot.

Every single dish, pot, pan, and utensil in my kitchen needed to be washed after being stored for a year and a half. Nobody wants to eat off of a plate that has gecko poop on it. Nobody. So, I spent a day and a half washing dishes. Wash, dry, put away, repeat (no automatic dishwasher here). Whew! That’s a lot of dishes.

On a happy side note though, I discovered the secret to getting that baked on grease off of your pots and pans. Are you ready for it?? Here it is: Step One: pack up all of your stuff and store in a semi-cool, semi-humid room in the tropics for a year and a half. Step Two: unpack all of your stuff and discover it all needs to be washed. Step Three: Wash. For some reason, this magical formula worked to get all of that grease off with minimal scrubbing. Score!

Besides all of the dishes, pots and pans needing to be washed, every single towel, curtain, and piece of clothing that was stored also needs to be washed. I’m still working my way through all of that. With no dryer and afternoon rains, it limits how much I can get done in one day. My neighbor has graciously let me use her washing machine though, so at least I can get two loads done at once!

Also, we have needed to vacuum each piece of furniture and each rug. Every cabinet has been vacuumed free of spider webs. So, the best thing we brought back in our luggage was definitely a vacuum cleaner! They are very hard to come by here and so the one we brought from the U.S. is worth its weight in gold!! And can I tell you how satisfying it is to vacuum a couch and see how much dust comes out of it. Am I the only one who finds satisfaction in these things??

Meanwhile, we’re still getting over jet-lag. And we’re entertaining a very clingy 10-month old whose world was just flipped upside-down, and who is also still getting over jet lag.

Life will be normal again. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Right now we are exhausted and have a ton of work to do! We would appreciate your prayers!

(Sorry for the lack of photos in this post. I took some, but it won’t let me upload them.)

Getting From Here to There: The Post-Travel Wrap-Up

So, we made it!  We’re in Papua and we only have one short little flight left to get to Nabire.

Elias was a super-trooper traveller.  I cannot say enough good things about that little boy.  He was awesome.  And somehow, having him made the trip easier for me.  Shocking, I know.  But rather than focusing on myself and watching movie after movie, I had something else to do, someone else to concentrate on.  I slept when he slept and we played when he was awake.  Rather than the hours dragging by and being counted by the number of movies I watched, the time seem to pass more quickly.

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Most of the time, Elias either slept in the seat between us, or played on the floor of the airplane.  I really couldn’t have asked for much better.  Other than a little bit of vomit (his) on our 15 hour leg, he was happy as a clam!

We will fly to Nabire today and begin unpacking our house.  I’m so excited to be home again!!

Thank you all for your prayers.  They were sure felt!

 

Getting From Here to There

We’ve been asked a lot this week just how long it takes to get from Phoenix to Nabire.

Short answer: a very long time.

Long answer:

Home to Phoenix airport: 1 hour
Wait at airport: 3 hours
Phoenix to L.A.: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Layover at LAX: 1 hour, 30 minutes
L.A. to Taipei: 14 hours, 45 minutes
Layover in Taipei: 3 hours
Taipei to Jakarta: 5 hours, 20 minutes
Stay in Jakarta: 35 hours (during which we will go through customs and then send most of our luggage on to Sentani.  Nathan will get his Indonesian medical clearance to fly.  And hopefully we’ll get a hot shower and some sleep)
Jakarta to Sentani: 6 hours
Stay in Sentani: approx. 48 hours (during which we will drive to Jayapura (2 hours from Sentani) for immigration and some grocery shopping.  Hopefully we’ll get some more sleep and hot showers.)
Sentani to Nabire: 2 hours, 30 minutes
HOME!!!

So, all total, from the time we leave Nathan’s parent’s house in Phoenix until we reach our home in Nabire, it’s approximately 121 hours, 30 minutes, or just over 5 days; 30 hours of which are sitting on an airplane.

So, back to the short answer: a very long time.

However, it makes me ever so grateful for modern forms of travel, because while 30 hours is a long time to sit on an airplane, it’s better than weeks upon week on a rocking ship with poor food and poor accomodations and no inflight entertainment.  The missionaries who have gone before us were rock stars…and much tougher than I am!

 

Favorite Photo Friday

I took exactly zero pictures this week.  Zilch.

Until 15 seconds ago when I took this picture to share with you:

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Ok, I know this photo isn’t super inspiring but our 2013 family photo book is in!!  As you know, throughout the year I work on our family photo album and then have it printed when the year ends.

In the past, I have always used Shutterfly to print our books, but this year I decided to venture out to a different company.  The 2013 book was printed by AdoramaPix and I could not be more thrilled with how it turned out.  These books are much higher quality than the Shutterfly books (sorry Shutterfly), but also come with a higher price tag (about 2x the price of Shutterfly).

The pages are printed on photo paper rather than high gloss paper and the pages lay flat making layouts like this possible:

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There is still a small crease down the middle, but it’s much less obvious.  I do believe that Shutterfly now offers lay flat pages, so you may be able to do this with them as well, but I haven’t tried it.

Anyway, I love getting my “yearbook!”  Last year I was hoping that the 2013 yearbook would be full of baby pictures and my wish came true!  Elias has officially taken over our family yearbook.

How to Survive a 30+ Hour Plane Trip with a 10 Month Old

First, I have no idea; we’ve never done this before, at least not with a 10 month old.

But these are my best laid plans based on advise from others and from previous shorter trips we have taken.

1. His own seat! Since we are traveling so far, Elias will have his own seat, even though he could qualify as a lap child.

2. Bulk head. We are going to request bulkhead seats for each leg so that Elias can play on the floor in front of the seats.

3. Pack a variety of toys.  I have backpack full of toys, broken up into smaller bags.  I’ve found in previous trips that it was really nice to have several small bags of a variety of toys so that he can pull one small bag out, discover all the fun stuff inside and then, when he’s done with those things, completely pack it back up before pulling out a new bag.  This reduces chaos a bit but not having all the toys strewn all over my seat…and my neighbors seat.  Plus, I’m much less likely to lose toys if only a few are out at one time.

Toys that have worked well for us so far are:

Small stuffed animals
Finger puppets
Plastic rings (you know that ones…that every parent has a thousand of.  Plus they are handy for hanging things off of the seat back pocket)
Little People
Toy cars
Small books
Keys (we made Elias his own key ring using old, unmatched keys.  The real things are so much better than plastic!)
Stacking cups
Toy phone (I picked on that isn’t too loud and obnoxious)

4. Pack a variety of snacks.  Sometimes the best thing to do to keep your kid quiet is to stuff him full of Goldfish or Cheerios.  And the chewing motion helps his little ears pop on take-off and landing.

5. He will cry, just plan it.  Babies cry, scream sometimes even and there’s no way we’re getting through 30+ hours without some amount of crying (yes, some of it might be mine)  This is just as awful for him as it is for me (I might not be the most fun travel partner…sorry honey!).

6. Keep the goal in mind.  “We will make it!” is going to be my mantra.  There are tropical beaches and a house to call my own on the other side.  We will make it.

7. Befriend the flight attendants.  It’s their job to help you, and if you’re nice to them, they will usually be nice to you (and your screaming kid).

Any other advise from you moms out there who have already done this??

Just 9 more days until we start our journey home.

Throwback Thursday

One year ago, I was writing about my “momma knot“, my aching desire to hold my own child.  Little did I know that just two weeks later, we would get a phone call that would change our lives forever!

On January 15, 2013, our adoption agency called telling us that we had been chosen by a birth mom.  I could hardly believe my ears, because we had only been on the waiting list for 12 days, we were expecting 6-12 months!  Our case worker gave me a whole bunch of information on the birth mom and the baby (“It’s a boy!”) and asked if we would accept the placement.  I had to call Nathan first, of course, but why wouldn’t we accept this little boy??  I called Nathan at work, crying.  He couldn’t believe it either; and if it weren’t for my mess of tears, he might have thought I was joking.

We accepted and 8 weeks later, our son was born.

Life never is what you expect, is it?  But it’s good.  Oh so good.

(P.S.-16 days until we leave for Indonesia.  Craziness.  Complete craziness!!)