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Coming Home
June 18, 2005  |  June 30, 2005  July 19, 2005  August 6, 2005  August 15, 2005  September 1, 2005  September 15, 2005  October 3, 2005  |  October 16, 2005  November 1, 2005  December 1, 2005  |
January 6, 2006  |  January 14, 2006  |  February 18, 2006  |  March 16, 2006  |  April 19, 2006  |  June 22, 2006  |
July 30, 2006  |  October 11, 2006  |  December 26, 2006  |  March 17, 2007  |  May 27, 2007  |  December 24, 2007

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Well, we left Guangzhou, China on the 9th of June and headed for Tokyo (initial leg).  Before we got on the plane in Guangzhou we did get a bit of a scare -- we arrived at the airport and were promptly greeted by two things that scare the seasoned traveler: first the line for our flight was about 10 miles long (may be a slight exaggeration) and then the Northwest rep started passing out NWA stickers and I thought that's nice but I don't need a sticker.  Once she got to us we realized why she was giving out the stickers when she gleefully pointed out that our NWA flight was cancelled.  I, in my usual calm manner, took it all in stride and queried the attendant by saying, "What, you have got to be kidding me.  Now what are we supposed to do, you have got to be kidding me!"  She responded to my quiet tones by gently telling me there was a flight on Air China that would get us to Tokyo so we could, maybe, meet our connecting flight.  We received divine providence, which we had the entire trip, when we were standing in the longest line to get on the China Air flight and an attendant pointed us to a newly opened counter and we were now first in line.  We headed for the gate and were stopped by the luggage police who checked our carry-ons.  Despite their 'excessive' weight we were able to keep them and move on to the gate.  Once on board, Isabelle was in a good mood but that didn't last long as the 4.5 hour flight soured her to airplanes and that was prior to the 11 hour and 40 minute trip from Tokyo to Detroit.  She slept on the initial leg to Tokyo but only about 1 hour.  That one hour would serve as the "long" nap of the flying day.  Isabelle had a tough time sleeping on the airplane and that meant that we did as well.  One time when she was crying and we were about 1 hour and 20 minutes from landing in Detroit, Tori, who had by now slept about 8 hours of the 10.2 hours, looked over at us perturbed and offered some timely, sage advice, "why don't you guys try walking her around?"  We responded with a word or two and then it was back to dreamland for our zombie.  We landed in Detroit and Isabelle became a US citizen at 3:26 p.m.  We went to clear customs and immigration and the people were awesome -- very kind, considerate, and friendly.  We trotted off and were stopped by an airline employee who informed us that we had to get our luggage.  So, we turned around and found our two bags that we had checked.  The "Polo" bag purchased in Guangzhou (I'm sure Ralph Lauren got his cut -- yeah right!) was fine but the pink suitcase has sustained a mortar round (not really) and we had to pronounce it DOA.  Thankfully there was room for more stuff in the Polo so we transloaded it and pitched the pink bag in the trash.

We checked in and there was time to wait so Stefanie fed Isabelle and then I held Isabelle as she slept while Tori and Stefanie went for Chinese food -- no way, they went straight to Quizno's and polished off a foot long sub.  I got some chicken noodle soup and then it was time to board.  But wait, another chance for the vaunted airline system to slow our progress.  The plane that landed that was to take us to Atlanta had a compressor stall while in flight and the NWA attendant informed us that we would be delayed an hour because of maintenance. Now there are times when being a pilot is helpful and this was one of them as I, putting on my "I know the answer" Superman persona, informed my gals that there was no way that maintenance was going to check an engine for a compressor stall in one hour.  Sure enough, the attendant told us there was a gate change and off we went -- me with chest puffed out from being so brilliant -- what a cad!  We got on the plane and a little over 1.5 hours later were touching down in Atlanta.  We got off the plane and headed for our luggage.  As we turned the corner, we were bum rushed by Dalton and Asher -- they looked so big and had easily grown 10 feet each.  WOW!  What a feeling, we were getting our family back together and it was just testimony to what blessings God has given us!  Bob had brought the boys and so we jumped in our Honda Odyssey (seems an appropriate name because of our adventure) and drove to Bob and Angie's, while Isabelle screamed in her car seat before falling asleep 5 minutes from their house, where we were reunited with our Atlanta family.  Everyone got a kick out of Isabelle and then we tumbled into bed exhausted.
June 10
We celebrated Asher's birthday with the family and Asher got tons of gifts and a Spiderman cake that Aunt Angie got especially for him.  Isabelle continued to be cuddled, touched, oohed and aahed by family as Stefanie's mom G.G., step mom (Archer) and half-sisters (Hannah and Elizabeth), as well as Melissa (Stefanie's sister), Paul (brother-in-law) and our nieces and nephew, Jordan, Taylor, Avery and Steven, joined the growing number of people in Angie and Bob's house.  After pizza and ice cream we hit the bed in anticipation of heading for St Louis.

June 11
Time for home.  We departed at 9:30 a.m. after saying goodbye and hit the road.  Isabelle did well in the car seat and actually slept for about 5 hours of the 9 hour trip.  We made it home and another milestone in our trip was complete.  The house looked great because our neighbor had mowed and our friends from Ohio, Iowa and here in Illinois had visited and left us some groceries in the fridge.  More importantly they left little notes all over the house that just lifted our spirits.  They also left pictures and presents for all the kids (an exersaucer for Isabelle!) -- sometimes it is difficult to express what true friendship can mean but we know that our friends bless our lives continuously!

June 12
We went to church and I think the congregation was a little surprised to see us because they kept coming up and saying things like, "we are surprised to see you."  I'm quick like that you know.  Can't get one by me.  Everyone was enamored with our new bundle of joy.  She did well in church.  She made a couple of disruptive noises but nothing that would have caused any consternation on the other parishioners parts.  Just in case I gathered her up and went to the back and after playing for a couple of minutes she crashed on me and I tell you that is one fantastic feeling when your daughter snuggles under your chin and feels safe enough to fall asleep.  We went grocery shopping, got our dog, Velvet, from our friends Brian and Terri and then we were off to get Zach who was flying in from Oklahoma City.  He had stayed with his dad during the trip.  It was great seeing him and then the family was complete again.  Zach had obviously spent some time outside as he was tanned and ready for some big time family action.

June 13 - 18
Isabelle is growing emotionally and physically.  She has slept through the night, can sit up well and has even tried to crawl.  That little girl will be walking and talking before we know it.  Stefanie has been awesome and is running our house like a well-oiled machine. Saturday was special because we took the family to get pictures -- don't want to miss the opportunity to capture the moment.  Then, it was time for Tori and Zach to return to Texas with their dad and step mom.  We'll see them again in about six weeks.  Isabelle will have changed a lot by then, I suspect. We are very much looking forward to celebrating Isabelle's first birthday on June 26th. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to celebrate this milestone in our daughter's life.

Next update will be after her birthday so check again before the 30th and thank you all for the prayers, encouragement, and love!

Tori breaks down at seeing her brothers

Isabelle's extended Atlanta family

Our kids were welcomed home by their friends.

Asher, Isabelle and Dalton

Isabelle fascinated by her favorite food

The story continues...


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