Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer adventures

I can't believe it's July already! Time is flying by. Mihretu and I just returned from a week in Michigan. I had my 20 year high school reunion and all my family lives up there so we had lots of people to see. This time instead of staying with family, we rented a house. I think I'm addicted to Now that I have a child, I find that I get extremely anxious when staying at most people's houses. Especially if they don't have young kids living there. I end up nagging Mihretu half to death about not touching things or climbing on things or breaking things and it ends up no fun for anyone. After our amazing Florida vrbo experience and how great the time with M was there - I decided to try it in Michigan. It was great. My mom was able to come spend the night one night. And almost all the family came to visit and go to the beach with us. We weren't right on the beach but we were on the edge of a neighborhood with beach access so we could just load up the provided wagon and head down about 7 houses to the private neighborhood beach. It was so nice. Most of the time when I go to MI - I am so busy running all over the place visiting everyone - I never make it to the beach. This beach time and people coming over to visit us was so nice and made it feel more like a vacation. It was so great to see everyone and have a break to the 98 degree humid weather we had been having in TN the week prior but both Mihretu and I were excited to come home after our week was up.

We drove and I like to get an early morning start since it's a lot of hours in the car and I don't like to drive much of the time in the dark. So, I got up at 4:15 am, packed up the car and got ready and then woke M up at like 4:30. Sweet boy - half asleep he says "Yay - we're going home. Thanks for waking me up mommy". Seriously - what kid wakes up that chipper at 4:30 am (that's 3:30 am back home btw)? He is the best little traveler ever! No issues or meltdowns whatsoever the whole way there and back. So thankful for a good traveler. We got through Detroit and Toledo before rush hour that Friday morning which was the hope. We never hit traffic anywhere and made it home in a record 9.5 hours. YAY!

Here are some pics from our Michigan trip.
we love the beach

those who came to the class reunion daytime picnic

cousin bonding time

Road trip!

bonding with Grandma at the beach

wrestling with Uncle Steve

Happy to go home - even when being woken up at 4:30 am:)

2 days after getting home, instead of returning to the office that Monday - we had an offsite staff retreat. We've been wanting to do one forever but with 7 people on staff - 2 from out of state and most with families - it has been a bear to try and arrange. I finally had an idea that made it work out brilliantly. We rented a house just outside of Nashville on you guessed it - Told you I'm addicted to that site. It was a great house on Old Hickory lake and our out of state staff were able to stay the night there and those of us who wanted to could stay too. Mihretu and I stayed there that Monday night. I dropped him off at school Monday morning and then went to the house and we had an all day retreat with our amazing VO staff. It was perfect timing since I got back from vacation on Friday and had an email that our landlords at our office found renters for our entire space and were giving us 30 days notice to vacate. We had asked them about a year earlier to start promoting the space since we didn't need that much space anymore and now have a lot of staff that work a majority of the time from home. We were in a 3 year lease so we couldn't just move out but if someone else wanted part of the space or all of it - we could either move into a smaller section or move out altogether. So we were excited about them renting it but having 30 days to get all the details figured out for a big move sounded overwhelming at first. Our retreat was perfect timing to just set those logistics aside and focus on worship, praise, and thanksgiving for all God had been doing in our lives and in VO the past few years. It was so great to go through and thank God for specific prayers answered including all the many many months of praying for Mihretu to get to come home. Lots of tears shed as we prayed and thanked God for so many miracles to make that one happen. It's amazing how when you start out in praise and thanksgiving - how your whole perspective of things that seemed big or heavy or overwhelming just completely shifts. I personally felt a weight lift and just a total peace come over me. Our whole staff experienced that too. It was a lovely day with this amazing team of 7 people. We do life together and I don't know what I would have done without each one of them these past few years. After our amazing all-day retreat - I left at 4 to pick up M from school and bring him back to the house where we were having our staff day. And several of the staff had spouses arrive to join us for the evening and the owner of the house picked us at 6:30 at the boat dock at the house and took us on a beautiful sunset boat ride and dropped us off at Sam's on the Cove for dinner and then picked us up afterwards and took us back via boat ride. It was a really great evening and we got to have some of our family members join us. Having a retreat nearby worked out so great. We will have to do that yearly.

evening boat ride on Old Hickory Lake on staff retreat day

Tomorrow is 4th of July and we are getting together with friends and having some pool time. I am excited about the long weekend. Mihretu loves swimming and fireworks so it's sure to be a great weekend. And best of all - the temps have dropped down to 80's and it's so much more pleasant than the 100 degrees we had a few days ago. Tonight there was even a cool breeze - it was lovely:) Happy July 4th weekend y'all!

LOVE our Ethiopian family

We just returned from Ethiopia and oh boy - my heart is completely wrecked. Mihretu and I traveled on our own last March (2018) over his ...