Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer update

We are still here in Alberta and enjoying our time. Our time has been quite filled with speaking at churches, small groups, bbqs, family time and running around filling all our (and other peoples!) shopping lists to bring back to Niger.

In an update on the medical reasons we are home, Arielle's appointments are going well. Her child psychologist is really pleased with the progress she has made in the past year. We have a neurological consult on Aug. 14th and are still waiting for a referral to come through for a development specialist for her gross motor skills. We are really impressed with the facilities at the new Alberta's children hospital in Calgary. Even a supervised play/craft room where Bennett could hang out while we had appointments!  Thank you for your prayers as we go through many appointments and tests!

So enjoy the photos below showing a few of the things we have been doing in between all our appointments and running around!

Bennett and Arielle having a blast playing with Sanka - who we got to puppy sit for a few weeks!

Reconnecting with old and dear friends



One hard thing in visiting Gina and her family is that they only live 5 houses down from where we used to live. We drove by our house and Bennett was so happy and wondering if we were going back to our house. I don't think he understood that other people live there now and that it isn't our house. It was a little sad for all of us to see the house that we designed and built gone as part of our past. So yeah, a little bit of emotion when we drove by.

Our old house


Speaking at a church in full African attire! What a blessing to enter some of the churches where we know so many of you and to share all what is happening in Niger. We wish we had more time to spend with you all individually, but a group setting will have to do! Thank you for your continued partnership!


Soaking up time with Chantelle's best friend of more than two decades Teresa and her husband and new baby girl!


A true photographer doesn't stop to catch the spit-up...just keep shooting!


On the way back from church one Sunday we saw a wonderful field of bright yellow canola and I just couldn't help myself!


Rolling in the grass!

Doing a photoshoot with my sister-in-law Leanne and her baby-to-be!


While we are home we are also trying to get our fill of Vitamin "G" Green! We are walking to parks, we are visiting green spaces and the river. It refreshes our spirit to sit and watch the kids run and play at the parks here and to breathe the wonderful fresh air, filled with the smells of trees and flowers. What a beautiful creation God blessed me with in the place where I grew up and even for a few weeks, I am refreshed to be here and smell and breathe and feel the grass. Small blessings so many take for granted.

And now just yesterday my brother and his family arrived from Denver to spend some days with us. We got to meet my nephew Derek for the first time! He will be one next week.


Auntie feeding him his first pop....ok not really....


Our kids are in for a rough time. Auntie Michelle takes photos just as much as mom, so now they have double the paparazzi!! Arielle loves to pose though while the boys run in terror!


Bennett - chilly adjusting to the weather and totally jet lagged- having a rest just "hanging out" !!

So this is not even close to all the pictures we have taken, but it gives you a good idea of our down time and enjoying Alberta. Tomorrow there is a big BBQ party here in Red Deer with a whole lot of my family and friends gathering to celebrate my graduation of my Master's degree. Should be a blast! 

Will post more later!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Back in Canada!

Greetings from cool, rainy Alberta! As I type it is 14 degrees Celsius and the rain is drizzling down outside. Poor me isn't used to such cold weather and fleece jackets are my best friend!

We are happy to report that we arrived back here safely. We were roughly 30 hours in transit and with 3 flights we touched 3 continents in those 30 hours! We were so thankful that the kids traveled exceptionally well. Our longest flight from Paris to Toronto, this was our view.


Paul and I enjoyed the peace and quiet for the 7  hours and caught a few winks of sleep ourselves and read, watched the movie, etc. In fact, this was Bennett the entire flight, whereas Arielle only slept for half of it.


The Paris airport gave us two memorable moments. The most expensive pay phone call (2 minutes to Canada was $50) and the most expensive cup of coffee at $8 for a medium plain latte. Thanks for nothing Paris! (I still love you, but your airport needs some work!)

Once we arrived in Toronto and had a 4 hour layover, there were other things to occupy us. I took pictures of Tim Horton's for a friend back in Niger, but myself I sought out the Starbucks with glee! Paul went straight out for a mountain biking magazine. The kids were happy to plant themselves in front of the big windows and watch the planes come and go.


Once we arrived in Calgary we were met by lots of family and friends and were so excited to be back and off an airplane! One of our pieces of luggage didn't make the last flight, but was delivered the following day. So overall we had a very uneventful flight home. Thank you to all of those who prayed for us!

Now we are back here and it is amazing how normal it feels and how in many ways it feels we were just here a month ago. The first few days in Calgary we enjoyed the sunshine and outdoors. Bennett loved goofing off at the parks.



Arielle and Bennett are both so thrilled to spend time with family!


Personally I am loving both the availability and variety in coffee. No more grinding and prepping it myself, having only one flavour, etc. There are so many options and easy coffee stops. Yippee!!



We got to have dinner with Paul's grandparents on their 62nd Anniversary.


We are also fortunate enough to be puppy-sitting our old beloved dog Sanka for his new owners. We love spending time with him and taking him for walks and snuggling him!!


We also got to see our very dear friends Mark and Teresa who live in China but were home for the birth of their first child. How exciting to meet this little beautiful girl Jael. Teresa and I have been best friends for over 20 years now and every chance we get to spend together is so awesome now that we live far apart.


Me and Jael


So what else is new? Well here is a list of some of the things that I am really enjoying/ appreciating about being back .

1. Hugs everyday from family

2. Cooler weather

3. Wearing pants everyday instead of a skirt, wearing jackets, sleeping under thick blankets and breathing cool air. All a wonderful change of pace

4. Variety in food. Oh how we missed deli meat, cheese, BBQ anything, broccoli, fresh milk, steak, and many other things. Each meal is just another chance to eat something we haven't had for a year! Thankfully I am taking it easy and haven't gained any weight! lol!

5. Working out in a state of the art gym. There are so many machines, cool air and a weights, etc. Such a change from Niger where I ride my recumbent bike in the heat of the house most days and can't run outside without considering a skirt and head covering. I love the gym!

6. Green. Green trees, green grass, flowers, etc. Need I say more?

7.Clothes fresh from the dryer that are soft and smell good. So much better than fresh from the line goat and dirt smelling in Niger.

8. Special events. We got to celebrate my grandparents anniversary, meet my niece Jael, and we have another baby shower for a cousin, meeting my nephew Derek for the first time, my grad party and other family events coming. All wonderful blessings considering we live so far from everyone!

9. Haircuts! Man did Arielle and I ever need them!

10. Shopping! SO many choices! We are also bringing home luggage and shopping items for 3 other families, so it is fun filling their lists too! I think Walmart  saw me everyday last week! haha!


Now tomorrow my mom and I have a "date day" together. We are headed to Edmonton to spend the day talking, shopping and hanging out. I can't wait!

All of our medical appointments are so far going well. Arielle's psychologist was really pleased with how much progress she made the past year, even though there are still a few troubling things to work on. We have learned a few interesting things in regards to Arielle and doors are opening to get more information. Thank you for your prayers.

Well, that's all for now! Stay tuned for more updates from this side of the world!